Skip to main content

Full text of "Mrs. Halliburton's troubles"

See other formats


UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 




10001246812 



ft 



This book is due at the WALTER R. DAVIS LIBRARY on 
the last date stamped under "Date Due." If not on hold it 
may be renewed by bringing it to the library. 




DATE RET 
DUE RET " 
























iv 2 52012 
















— 


NUV '& 


trt* 





































































































" This life of ours is a wild aeolian harp of many a joyous strain, 
But under them all there runs a loud perpetual wail, as of souls in pain. 

* * * * £ . ■«' -* * v - •* 

All through life there are wayside inns, where man may refresh his soul with 
love ; 

Even the lowest may quench his thirst at rivulets fed by springs from above." 

Longfellow. 



- MSP 

Mrs. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



BY 

MRS. HENRY WOOD, 

AUTHOR OF 

"EAST LYNNE," <c THE CHANNINGS," ETC., ETC. 




LONDON: 

RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON, 
lj3uWfefjers in ©rMnarg to p?er Majesty tljt ®ueen* 
1890. 

{All rights reserved.') 



LONDON : 

PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, 
STAMFOItD STREET AND CHARING CROSS. 



CONTENTS. 





PART THE FIRST. 




CHAPTER 




PAGE 


I. 


The Clergyman's Daughter ... 


I 


II. 


The Shadow becomes Substance ... 


IO 


III. 


The Rev. Francis Tait 


... 14 


IV. 


New Plans 


21 


V. 


Margaret 


... 24 


VI. 


A Visit to the Physician 


28 


VII. 


Later in the Day 


... 37 


VIII. 


Suspense ... 


42 


IX. 


Looking out for a Home 


... 48 


X. 


A Dying Bed 


50 


XI. 


IIelstonleigh 


... 56 


XII. 


Anna Lynn 


61 


XIII. 


Illness 


... 64 


XIV. 


A Christmas Dream 


69 


XV. 


The Funeral ... 


... 77 


XVI. 


Trouble ... 


82 


XVII. 


Thomas Ashley 


... 89 


XVIII. 


Honey Fair 


96 


XIX. 


Mrs. Reece and Dobbs 


... 99 


XX. 


The Glove Operatives ... 


104 


XXI. 


The Ladies of Honey Fair ... 


... no 


XXII. 


Mr. Brumm's Sunday Shirt 


. ? 118 


XXIII. 


The Messrs. Bankes ... 


... 121 


XXIV. 


Hard to Bear 


125 


XXV. 


Incipient Vanity 


... 129 


XXVI. 


Mr. Ashley's Manufactory 


133 


XXVII. 


The Forgotten Letter 


... 138 



ri 



CONTENTS. 



PART THE SECOND. 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. A Suggested Fear ... ... ... ... 148 

II. Shadows in Honey Fair ... ... ... 153 

III. The Dares at Home ... ... ... ... 159 

IV. Throwing at the Bats ... ... ... 164 

V. Charlotte East's Present ... ... ... 171 

VI. The Fear growing Greater ... ... 175 

VII. The End ... ... ... ... ... 182 

VIII. A Wedding in Honey Fair ... ... 186 

IX. An Explosion for Mrs. Cross ... ... 189 

X. A Shilling in the Waste-Paper Basket ... 196 

XI. The Schoolboys' Notes ... ... ... 201 

XII. A Lesson for Philip Glenn ... ... 204 

XIII. Making Progress ... ... 208 

XIV. William Halliburton's Ghost ... ... 211 

XV. " Nothing Risk, Nothing Win" ... ... 219 

XVI. Mrs. Dare's Governess ... ... ... 225 

XVII. Taking an Italian Lesson ... ... ... 230 

. XVIII. A Vision in Honey Fair ... ... .. 237 

XIX. The Duplicate Cloaks ... ... ... 239 

XX. A Hole dug by Starlight ... ... 246 

XXI. A Present of Tea-leaves ... ... ... 253 

XXII. Henry Ashley's Object in Life ... ... 260 

XXIII. Atterly's Field ... ... ... ... 267 

XXIV. Looking into the Shop Windows ... 276 
XXV. Patience come to Grief ... ... ... 281 

XXVI. The Governess's Expedition ... .. 287 

XXVII. The Quarrel ... ... ... ... ... 295 



CONTENTS. 



vii 



PART THE THIRD. 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. Anna Lynn's Dilemma ... ... .. 304 

II. Commotion ... ... ... 310 

III. Accused ... ... ... ... ... 317 

IV. Committed for Trial ... .. ... 325 

V. A Bruised Heart ... ... ... ... 330 

VI. One dying in Honey Fair ... ,.. 333 

VII. Fruits coming home to the Dares ... ... 339 

VIII. An Ugly Vision ... ... ... ... 346 

IX. Sergeant Delves " looks up" ... ... 351 

X. The Trial ... ... ... ... 354 

XI. The Witnesses for the Alibi ^62 

XII. A Couch of Pain ... ... .. 370 

XIII. A Ray of Light ... ... ,.. ... 375 

XIV. Mr. Delves on his Beam Ends ... ... 378 

XV. * A Loss for Pomeranian Knoll ... ... 385 

XVI. Miss Ashley's Offer ... ... ... 392 

XVII. The Explosion ... ... ... ... 399 

XVIII. Mr. Frank " called" ... ... ... 409 

XIX. Glimpse of a Blissful Dream ... ... 414 

XX. Ways and Means ... ... ... ... 422 

XXI. The Dream Realized... ... ... ... 428 

XXII. The Bishop's Letter ... ... ... 431 

XXIII. A Dying Confession ... ... ... ... 434 

XXIV. The Downfall of the Dares ... ... 443 

XXV. Assize Time ... ... ... ... ... 451 

XXVI. The High Sheriff's Dinner Party ... 456 

1 



Digitized by 


the Internet Archive 






in 2013 







http://archive.org/details/mrshalliburtonstOOwood_0 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES 



CHAPTER I. 

THE CLERGYMAN'S DAUGHTER. 

In a very populous district of London, somewhat north of Temple- 
Bar, there stood, many years ago, a low, ancient church, amidst 
other churches — for you know that London abounds in them. The 
doors of this church were partially open one dark evening in 
December, and a faint, glimmering light might be observed inside 
by the passers-by. 

It was known well enough what was going on within, and why the 
light was there. The rector was giving away the weekly bread. A 
benevolent person had left, years ago, a certain sum to be spent in 
twenty weekly loaves, to be given to twenty poor widows at the dis- 
cretion of the minister. Certain curious provisos were attached to 
the bequest. One was that the bread should not be less than two 
days old, and should have been deposited in the church at least 
twenty-four hours before its distribution. Another was, that each 
recipient must attend in person. Failing personal attendance, no 
matter how unavoidable her absence might have been, she lost the 
loaf : no friend might receive it for her, neither might it be sent to 
her. In that case, the minister was enjoined to bestow it upon "any 
stranger widow who might present herself, even as should seem 
expedient to him : " the word " stranger " being, of course, used in 
contradistinction to the twenty poor widows who were on the books 
as the charity's recipients. Four times a year, one shilling to each 
widow was added to the loaf of bread. 

A loaf of bread is not much. To us, sheltered in our abundant 
homes, it seems as nothing. But, to many a one, toiling and starving 
in this same city of London, a loaf may be almost the turning-point 
between death and life. The poor existed in tjiose days as they exist 
in these ; as they always will exist : therefore it was no matter of 
surprise that a crowd of widow women, most of them aged, all in 
poverty, should gather round the church doors when the bread was 
being given out, each hoping that, of the twenty poor widows, some 
one might fail to appear, and that the clerk would come to the door 
find call out her own particular name, as the fortunate substitute. 
Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 1 



2 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



On the days when the shilling was added to the loaf, this waiting 
and hoping crowd would be increased fourfold. 

Thursday was the afternoon for the distribution. And on the day 
that we are now writing about, the rector entered the church at the 
usual hour : four o'clock. He had to make his way through an 
unusual number of outsiders : for this was one of the shilling days. 
He knew them all personally ; was familiar with their names and 
homes : for the Rev. Francis Tait was a hard-working clergyman. 
And hard-working clergymen were more rare in those days than 
they are in these. 

Of Scotch birth, but chiefly reared in England, he had taken 
orders at the usual age, and become curate in a London parish, 
where the work was heavy and the stipend small. Not that the 
duties attached to the church itself were heavy ; but it was a parish 
filled with the poor. Those who are familiar with such parishes 
know what that means, when the minister is sympathizing and con- 
scientious. For twenty years he remained a curate, patiently toiling, 
cheerfully hoping. Twenty years ! It seems little, to write ; but, 
to live, it is a great deal ; and Francis Tait, in spite of his hopeful- 
ness, sometimes found it so. Then promotion came. The living of 
this little church, that you now see open, was bestowed upon him. 
A poor living, as compared with some others ; and a poor parish, 
speaking of the social condition of its inhabitants. But the living 
appeared wealth, compared with what he had earned as a curate ; 
and, as to his flock being chiefly composed of the poor, he had 
not been accustomed to anything else. Then the Rev. Francis Tait 
married ; and another twenty years went by. 

He stood in the church on this evening ; the loaves resting on the 
shelf overhead, against the door of the vestry, all near the entrance 
to the church. A flaring tallow candle stood on the small table be- 
tween him and the widows who clustered opposite. He was sixty- five 
years old now ; a spare man of middle height, with a clear, pale skin, 
an intelligent countenance, and a thoughtful, fine grey eye. He had 
a pleasant word, a kind inquiry for all, as he put the shilling into 
their hands ; the lame old clerk at the same time handing over the 
loaf of bread. 

" Are you all here to-night ? " he asked, as the distribution went 
on. 

" No, sir," was the answer from several who spoke at once. 
" Betty King's away." 

" What is the matter with her ? " 

" The rheumaticks have laid hold on her, sir. She couldn't get 
here nohow. She's in her bed." 

" I must go and see her," said he. " What, are you here again, 
Martha ? " he continued, as a little deformed woman stepped from 
behind the rest, where she had been hidden. " I am glad to see 
you." 

"Six blessed weeks this day, and I've not been able to come!" 
exclaimed the woman, " But I'm restored wonderful." 



THE CLERGYMAN'S DAUGHTER. 



3 



. The distribution was approaching its close, when the rector spoke 
to his clerk. " Call in Eliza Turner." 

The clerk placed on the table the four or five loaves remaining, 
that each woman might help herself during his absence, and went 
out to the door. 

" 'Liza Turner, his reverence has called for you." 

A sigh of delight from Eliza Turner, and a groan of disappoint- 
ment from those surrounding her, greeted the clerk in answer. He 
took no notice — he often heard it — but turned and limped into the 
church again. Eliza Turner followed ; and another woman slipped 
in after Eliza Turner. 

" Now, Widow Booth," cried the clerk, sharply, perceiving the 
intrusion, " what business have you here ? You know it's again the 
rules." 

" I must see his reverence," murmured the woman, pressing on — 
a meek, half-starved woman ; and she pushed her way into the 
vestry, and there told her pitiful tale. 

" I'm worse off than Widow Turner," she moaned piteously, not in 
a tone of complaint, but of entreaty. " She has a daughter in service 
as helps her ; but me, I've my poor unfortunate daughter lying in 
my place weak with fever, sick with hunger ! Oh, sir, couldn't you 
give the bounty this time to me ? I've not had a bit or drop in my 
mouth since morning - and then it was but a taste o' bread and a 
drain o' tea, that a neighbour give me out o' charity." 

It was absolutely necessary to discountenance these personal 
applications. The rector's rule was, never to give the spare bounty 
to those who applied for it : otherwise the distribution might have 
become a weekly scene of squabbling and confusion. He handed 
the shilling and bread to Eliza Turner ; and when she had followed 
the other women out, he turned to the Widow Booth, who was 
sobbing against the wall ; speaking kindly to her. 

" You should not have come in, Mrs. Booth. You know that I do 
not allow it." 

"But I'm starving, sir," was the answer. " I thought maybe as 
you'd divide it between me and W 7 idow Turner. Sixpence for her, 
and sixpence for me, and the loaf halved." 

" I have no power to divide the gifts : to do so would be against 
the terms of the bequest. How is it that you are so badly off this 
week ? Has your work failed ? " 

" I couldn't do it, sir, with my sick one to attend to. And I've a 
gathering come on my thimble finger, and that has hindered me. I 
took ninepence the day before yesterday, sir, but last night it was 
every farthing of it gone." 

" I will come round and see you by-and-by," said the clergyman. 

She lifted her eyes yearningly. " Oh, sir ! if you could but give 
me something for a morsel of bread now ! I'd be grateful for a penny 
loaf." 

" Mrs. Booth, you know that, to give here would be altogether 
against my rule," he replied, with unmistakable firmness. " Neither 



4 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



am I pleased when any of you attempt to ask it. Go home quietly : 
I have said that I will come to you by-and-by." 

The woman thanked him, and went out. Had anything been 
needed to prove the necessity of the rule, it would have been the 
eagerness with which the crowd of women gathered round her. Not 
one of them had gone away. " Had she got anything ? " To reply 
that she had something, would have sent the whole crowd nocking 
in, to beg in turn of the rector. 

Widow Booth shook her head. " No, no. I knowed it before. He 
never will. He says he'll come round." 

They dispersed; some in one direction, some in another. The 
rector blew out the candle, and he and the clerk came forth ; and the 
church was closed for the distribution of bread until that day week. 
Mr. Tait took the keys to carry them home himself. They were 
kept at his house. Formerly the clerk had carried them there ; but 
since he had become old and lame, Mr. Tait would not give him the 
trouble. 

It was a fine night overhead, but the streets were sloppy ; and the 
clergyman put his foot unavoidably in many a puddle. The streets 
through which his road lay were imperfectly lighted. The residence 
apportioned to the rector of this parish was adjoining a well-known 
square, fashionable in that day. It was a very good house, bearing 
a handsome outward appearance. If you judged by it, you would 
have said the living must be worth five hundred a year at the least. 
It was not worth anything like that; and the parish treated their 
pastor liberally in according him so good a residence. A quarter of 
an hour's walk from the church brought Mr. Tait to it. 

Until recently, a gentleman had shared this house with Mr. Tait 
and his family. The curate of a neighbouring parish, the Rev. John 
Acton, had been glad to live with them as a friend, partaking of their 
society and their table. It was a little help ; and but for that, Mr. 
and Mrs. Tait would scarcely have thought themselves justified in 
keeping two servants, for the educational expenses of their children 
ran away with a large portion of their income. But Mr. Acton had 
now been removed to a distance, and they hoped to receive some one 
or other in his place. 

On this evening, as Mr. Tait was picking his way through the 
puddles, the usual sitting-room of his house presented a cheerful 
appearance, ready to receive him. It was on the ground floor, 
looking to the street, spacious and lofty, and bright with fire. Two 
candles, not yet lighted, stood on the table behind the tea-tray, but 
the glow of the fire was quite sufficient for all the work that was 
being done in the room. 

It was no work at all : but play. A young lady was quietly 
whirling round the room with a dancing step— quietly, because her 
feet and movements were gentle ; and the tune she was humming to 
herself, and to which she kept time, was carolled in an undertone. 
She was moving thus in the happy innocence of heart and youth. 
A graceful girl was she, of middle height ; one whom it gladdened 



THE CLERGYMAN'S DAUGHTER- 



5 



the eye to look upon. Not for her beauty, for she had no very great 
beauty to boast of ; but it was one of those countenances that win 
their own way to favour. A fair, gentle face it was, openly candid, 
with the same earnest, honest grey eye that so pleased you in the 
Rev. Mr. Tait, and brown hair. She was that gentleman's eldest 
child, and looked about eighteen. In reality she was a year older, 
but her face and dress were both youthful. She wore a violet silk 
dress, made with a low body and short sleeves : young ladies did 
not keep their pretty necks and arms covered up then. In the day- 
time, the dress would have appeared old, but it looked very well 
by candle-light. 

The sound of the latch-key in the front door brought her dancing 
to an end. She knew who it was — no inmate of that house possessed 
a latch-key, except its master— and she turned to the fire to light 
the candles. 

Mr. Tait came into the room, removing neither his overcoat nor 
his hat. a Have you made tea, Jane ? " 
" No, papa ; it has only just struck five." 

" Then I think I'll go out again first. I have to call on one or 
two of the women, and it will be all one wetting. My feet arc 
soaked already " — looking down at his buckled shoes and his black 
gaiters. " You can get my slippers warmed, Jane. But " — the 
thought apparently striking him — "would your mamma like to 
wait?" 

" Mamma had a cup of tea half an hour ago," replied Jane. " She 
said it might do her good ; if she could get some sleep after it, she 
might be able to come down for a little while before bedtime. The 
tea can be made whenever you like, papa. There's only Francis at 
home, and he and I could wait until ten at night, if you pleased." 

44 I'll go at once, then. Not until ten, Miss Jane, but until six, or 
about that time. Betty King is ill ; but she does not live far off. 
And I must step in to the Widow Booth's." 

" Papa," cried Jane as he was turning away, " I forgot to tell you. 
Francis says he thinks, he knows of a gentleman who would like to 
come here in Mr. Acton's place." 

" Ah ! who is it ? " asked the rector. 

" One of the masters of the school. Here's Francis coming down. 
He only went up to wash his hands." 

" It is our new mathematical master, papa," cried P'rancis Tait, 
a youth of eighteen, who was being brought up to the Church. I 
overheard him ask Dr. Percy if he could recommend him to a 
comfortable house where he might board, and make one of the 
family; so I told him perhaps you might receive him here. He 
said he'd come down and see you." 

Mr. Tait paused. " Would he be a desirable inmate, think you, 
Francis? Is he a gentleman? " 

" Quite a gentleman, I am sure," replied Francis. " And we all 
like what little we have seen of him. His name's Halliburton." 

" Is he in Orders?" 



6 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" No. He intends to be, I think." 

" Well, of course I can say nothing about it, one way or the 
other," concluded Mr. Tait, as he went out. 

Jane stood before the fire in thought, her fingers unconsciously 
smoothing the parting of the glossy brown hair on her well-shaped 
head, as she looked at it in the pier-glass. To say that she never 
did such a thing in vanity, would be wrong ; no pretty girl ever 
lived, but was conscious of her good looks. Jane, however, was 
neither thinking of herself nor of vanity then. She took a very 
practical part in home duties : she took, with her mother, a practical 
part amidst her father's poor : and just now her thoughts were 
running on the additional work it might bring to her, should this 
gentleman come to reside with them. 

"What did you say his name was, Francis?" she suddenly asked 
of her brother. 

"Whose?" 

" That gentleman's. The new master at your school." 

" Halliburton. I don't know his Christian name." 

" I wonder," mused Jane, aloud, " whether he will wear out his 
stockings as Mr. Acton did? There was always a dreadful amount 
of darning to be done to his. Is he an old guy, Francis ? " 

"Isn't he!" responded Francis Tait. "Don't you faint when 
you see some one come in old and fat, with green rims to his 
spectacles. I don't say he's quite old enough to be papa's father, 
but " 

"Why! he must be eighty, then, at least !" uttered Jane, in 
dismay. " How could you propose it to him ? We should not care 
to have any one older than Mr. Acton." 

"Acton! that young chicken! " contemptuously rejoined Francis. 
" Put him by the side of Mr. Halliburton ! Acton was barely 
fifty." 

"He was forty-eight, I think," said Jane. "Oh, dear! how I 
should like to have gone with Margaret and Robert this evening ! " 
she exclaimed, forgetting the passing topic in another. 

" They were not polite enough to invite me," said Francis. " I 
shall pay the old lady out." 

Jane laughed. " You are growing too old now, Francis, to be 
admitted to a young ladies' breaking-up. Mrs. Chilham said so to 
mamma " 

Jane's words were interrupted by a knock at the front door, 
apparently that of a visitor. "Jane!" cried her brother, in some 
trepidation, " I should not wonder if it's Mr. Halliburton! He did 
not say when he should come." 

Another minute, and one of the servants ushered a gentleman 
into the room. It was not an old guy, however, as Jane saw at a 
glance: and she felt a sort of relief. A tall, gentlemanlike man 
of five or six and twenty, with thin, aquiline features, dark eyes, and 
a clear, fresh complexion. A handsome man, very prepossessing. 

" You see I have soon availed myself of your permission to call," 



THE CLERGYMAN'S DAUGHTER. 



7 



said he, in a pleasant tone, as he took Francis Tait's hand, and 
glanced towards Jane with a slight bow. 

" My sister Jane, sir," said Francis. " Jane, this is Mr. Halli- 
burton." 

Jane for once lost her self-possession. So surprised was she — in 
fact perplexed, for she did not know whether Francis was playing 
a trick upon her now, or whether he had previously played it ; in 
short, whether this was, or was not, Mr. Halliburton — that she 
could only look from one to the other. " Are you Mr. Halliburton?" 
she said, in her straightforward simplicity. 

" I am Mr. Halliburton," he answered, bending to her politely. 
" Can I have the pleasure of seeing Mr. Tait? " 

"Will you take a seat? " said Jane. " Papa is out, but I do not 
think he will be very long." 

"Where did he go to — do you know, Jane?" cried Francis, who 
was smothering a laugh. 

" To Betty King's ; and to Widow Booth's. He may have been 
going elsewhere also. I think he was." 

"At any rate, I'll just run there, and see. Jane, you can tell 
Mr. Halliburton all about it while I am away. Explain to him 
exactly how he will be here, and how we live. And then you can 
decide for yourself, sir," concluded Francis. 

To splash through the wet streets to Betty King's or elsewhere, 
was an expedition rather agreeable to Francis, in his eagerness; 
otherwise there was no particular necessity for his going. 

" I am sorry that mamma is not up," said Jane. " She suffers 
from occasional sick-headaches, and they generally keep her in bed 
for the day. I will give you any information in my power." 

" Your brother Francis thought — that it might not be disagree- f 
able to Mr. Tait to receive a stranger into his family," said Mr. 
Halliburton, speaking with some hesitation. But the young lady 
before him looked so ladylike, the house altogether seemed so well- 
appointed, that he almost doubted whether the proposal would not 
offend her. 

" We wish to receive some one," said Jane. " The house is suffi- 
ciently large to do so, and papa would like it for the sake of society : 
as well as that it would help in our housekeeping," she added, in 
her candour. " A friend of papa's was with us — I cannot remember 
precisely how many years, but he came when I was a little girl. 
It was the Rev. Mr. Acton. He left us last October." 

" I feel sure that I should like it very much : that I should think 
myself fortunate if Mr. Tait would admit me," spoke the visitor. 

Jane remembered the suggestion of Francis, and deemed it her 
duty to speak a little to Mr. Halliburton of "how he would be 
there," as it had been expressed. She might have done so without 
the suggestion : she could not be otherwise than straightforward 
and open. 

" We live very plainly," she observed. " A joint of meat one day ; 
cold, with a pudding, the next." 



8 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" I should consider myself fortunate to get the pudding," replied 
Mr. Halliburton, smiling. " I have been tossed about a good deal 
of late years, Miss Tait, and have not come in for too much com- 
fort. Just now I am in very uncomfortable lodgings." 

" I dare say papa would like to have you," said Jane, frankly, 
with a sort of relief. She had thought he looked one who might be 
over-fastidious. 

" I have neither father nor mother, brother nor sister," he 
resumed. " In fact, I may say that I am without relatives : for 
almost the only one I have has discarded me. I often think how 
rich those people must be who possess close connections and a 
happy home," he added, turning his bright glance upon her. 

Jane dropped her work, which she had taken up. " I don't 
know what I should do without all my dear relatives," she ex- 
claimed. 

" Are you a large family ? " 

" We are six. Papa and mamma, and four children. I am the 
eldest, and Margaret is the youngest ; Francis and Robert are 
between us. It is breaking-up night at Margaret's school, and she 
has gone to it with Robert," continued Jane, never doubting but 
that the stranger must take as much interest in " breaking-up 
nights " as she did. " I was to have gone ; but mamma has been 
unusually ill to-day." 

" Were you disappointed?" 

Jane bent her head while she confessed the fact, as if feeling it 
were a confession to be ashamed of. "It would not have been 
kind to leave mamma," she added, " and I dare say some other 
pleasure will arise for me soon. Mamma is asleep now." 

"What a charming girl!" thought Mr. Halliburton to himself. 
" How I wish she was my sister ! " 

" Margaret is to be a governess," observed Jane. " She is being 
educated for it. She has great talent for music, and also for draw- 
ing: it is not often that the two are united. Her tastes lie quite 
that way — anything clever ; and as papa has no money to give us, 
it was well to make her a governess." 

"And you?" said Mr. Halliburton. The question might have 
been thought an impertinent one by many, but he spoke it only in 
his deep interest, and Jane Tait was of too ingenuous a disposition 
not to answer it as openly. 

" I am not to be a governess. I am to stay at home with mamma 
and help her. There is plenty to do. Margaret cannot bear 
domestic duties, or sewing either. Dancing excepted, I have not 
learnt a single accomplishment — unless you can call French an 
accomplishment." 

" I am sure you have been well educated ! " involuntarily spoke 
Mr. Halliburton. 

" Yes ; in all things solid," replied Jane. " Papa has taken care 
of that. He still directs my reading in literature. I know a good 
bit — of — Latin," — she added, bringing out the concluding words 



THE CLERGYMAN'S DAUGHTER. 



9 



with hesitation, as one who repents his sentence — " though I do not 
like to confess it to you." 
" Why do you not ? " 

" Because I think young ladies who know Latin are laughed at. 
I did not regularly learn it, but I used to be in the room when 
papa or Mr. Acton was teaching Francis and Robert, and I picked 
it up unconsciously. Mr. Acton often took Francis; he had more 
time on his hands than papa. Francis is to be a clergyman." 

" Miss Jane," said a servant entering the room, " your mamma 
is awake, and wishes to see you." 

Jane left Mr. Halliburton with a word of apology, and almost 
immediately after, Mr. Tait came in. He was a little taken to when 
he saw the stranger. His imagination had run, if not upon an " old 
guy " in spectacles, certainly upon some steady, sober, middle-aged 
mathematical master. Would it be well to admit this young and 
good-looking man to his house? 

If Jane Tait had been candid in her revelations to Mr. Halliburton, 
that gentleman, in his turn, was not less candid to her father. He, 
Edgar Halliburton, was the only child of a country clergyman, the 
Rev. William Halliburton, who had died when Edgar was sixteen, 
leaving nothing behind him. Edgar — he had previously lost his 
mother — found a home with his late mother's brother, a gentleman 
named Cooper, who resided in Birmingham. Mr. Cooper was a 
man in extensive wholesale business, and he wished Edgar to go 
into his counting-house. Edgar declined. His father had lived 
long enough to form his tastes : his greatest wish had been to see 
him enter the Church ; and the wish had become Edgar's own. 
Mr. Cooper thought there was nothing in the world like business : 
he looked upon that most sacred of all callings, God's ministry, 
only in the light of a profession. He had carved out his own career, 
step by step, attaining wealth and importance, and he wished his 
nephew to do the same. " Which is best, lad? " he coarsely asked : 
" To rule as a merchant-prince, or to starve and toil as a curate ? 
Pm not a merchant-prince yet, but you may be." "It was my 
father's wish," pleaded Edgar in answer, " and it is my own. I 
cannot give it up, sir." The dispute ran high — not in words, but in 
obstinacy. Edgar would not yield, and at length Mr. Cooper dis- 
carded him. He turned him out of doors : he told him that, if he 
must become a parson, he might get some one else to pay his 
expenses at Oxford, for he never would. Edgar Halliburton pro- 
ceeded to London, and obtained employment as an usher in a 
school,, teaching classics and mathematics. From that he became 
a private teacher, and had so earned his living up to the present 
time : but he had never succeeded in getting to the University. 
And Mr. Tait, before they had talked together five minutes, was 
charmed with his visitor, and invited him to take tea with him, 
which Jane came down to make. 

"Has your uncle never softened towards you?" Mr. Tait 
inquired. 



io MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Never. 1 have addressed several letters to him, but they have 
been returned to me." 

" He has no family, you say, Mr. Halliburton ? You ought — in 
justice, you ought to inherit some of his wealth. Has he other 
relatives ? " 

"He has one standing to him in the same relationship that I do 
— my cousin Julia. It is not likely that I shall ever inherit a 
shilling of it, sir. I do not expect it." 

" Right," said Mr. Tait, nodding his head approvingly. " There's 
no work so thriftless as that of waiting for legacies. Wearying, too. 
I was a poor curate, Mr. Halliburton, for twenty years — indeed, so 
far as being poor goes, I am not much else now — but let that pass. 
I had a relative who possessed money, and who had neither kith nor 
kin nearer to her than I was. For the best part of those twenty 
years I was casting covert hopes to that money ; and when she 
died, and NOTHING was left to me, I found out how foolish and 
wasteful my hopes had been. I tell my children to trust to their 
own honest exertions, but never to trust to other people's money. 
Allow me to urge the same upon you." 

Mr. Halliburton's lips and eyes alike smiled, as he looked grate- 
fully upon the rector, the man so much older than himself. " I 
never think of it," he earnestly said. " It appears, for me, to be as 
thoroughly lost as though it did not exist. I should not have 
mentioned it, sir, but that I consider it right that you should know 
all particulars respecting me : if, as I hope, you will admit me to 
your home." 

" I think we should get on together very well," frankly acknow- 
ledged Mr. Tait, forgetting the prudent ideas which had crossed his 
mind. 

" I am sure we should, sir," warmly replied Edgar Halliburton. 
And the bargain was made. 



! CHAPTER II. 

THE SHADOW BECOMES SUBSTANCE. 

And yet it had perhaps been well that those prudent ideas had been 
allowed by Mr. Tait to obtain weight. Mr. Halliburton took up his 
abode with them ; and, the more they saw of him, the more they 
liked him. In which liking Jane must be included. 

It was a possible shadow of the future, of the effects the step 
would bring forth, which had whispered determent to Mr. Tait : a 
very brief shadow, which had crossed his mind imperfectly, and 
flitted away again. Where two young and attractive beings are 
thrown into daily companionship, the result too frequently is, that 
a mutual regard arises, stronger than any other regard can ever be 
in this world. This result arrived here. 



THE SHADOW BECOMES SUBSTANCE. n 



A twelvemonth passed over from the period of Mr. Halliburton's 
entrance — how swiftly for him and for Jane Tait they alone could 
tell. Not a word had been spoken to her by Mr. Halliburton that 
he might not have spoken to her mother or her sister Margaret ; 
not a look on Jane's part had been given by which he could infer 
that he was more to her than the rest of the world.* And yet both 
were inwardly conscious of the feelings of the other ; and when the 
twelvemonth had gone by, it had seemed to them but a span, for 
the love they bore each other. 

One evening in December, Jane stood in the dining-room, waiting 
to make the tea, just as she had so waited that former evening. For 
any outward signs, you might have thought that not a single hour 
had elapsed since their first introduction — that it was the same 
evening as of old. It was sloppy outside, it was bright within. The 
candles stood on the table unlighted, the fire blazed, the tea-tray was 
placed, and only Jane was there. Mrs. Tait was upstairs with one 
of her frequent sick-headaches, Margaret was with her, and the 
others had not come in. 

Jane stood in a reverie — her elbow resting on the mantelpiece, 
and the blaze from the fire flickering on her gentle face. She was 
fond of these few minutes of idleness on a winter's evening, between 
the twilight hour and the lighting of the candles. 

The clock in the kitchen struck five. It did not arouse her : she 
heard it in a mechanical sort of manner, without taking note of it. 
Scarcely had the sound of the last stroke died away when there was 
a knock at the front door. 

That aroused her — for she knew it. She knew the footsteps that 
came in when it was answered, and a rich damask arose to her 
cheeks, and the pulses of her heart went on a little quicker than 
they had been going before. 

She took her elbow from the mantelpiece, and sat down quietly 
on a chair. No need to look who entered. Some one, taller by 
far than any in that house, came up to the fire, and bent to warm 
his hands over the blaze. 

" It is a cold night, Jane. We shall have a severe frost." 

" Yes," she answered ; " the water in the barrel is already freezing 
over." 

" How is your mamma now ? " 

"Better, thank you. Margaret has gone up to help her dress. 
She is coming: down to tea." 

I Mr. Halliburton remained a minute silent, and then turned to 
Jane, his face glowing with satisfaction. " I have had a piece of 
preferment offered me to-day." 
- " Have you ? " she eagerly said. " What is it ? " 

" Dr. Percy proposes that, from January, I shall take the Greek 
classes as well as the mathematics, and he doubles my salary. Of 
course I shall have to give more attendance, but I can readily do 
that. My time is not fully employed." 

" I am very glad," said Jane. 



12 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES* 

" So am I," he answered. "Taking all my sources of emolument 
together, I shall now be earning two hundred and eighty-three 
pounds a year." 

Jane laughed. " Have you been reckoning it up ? " 

"Ay; I had a motive in doing so." 

His tone was a peculiar one, and it caused her to look at him, 
but her eyelids drooped under his gaze. He drew nearer, and laid 
his hand gently on her shoulder, bending down before her to speak. 

"Jane, you have not mistaken me. I feel that you have read 
what has been in my heart, what have been my intentions, as surely 
as if I had spoken. It is not a great income, but it is sufficient, if 
you can think it so. May I speak to Mr. Tait ? " 

What Jane would have contrived to answer she never knew, but 
at that moment her mother's step was heard approaching. All she 
did was to glance shyly up at Mr. Halliburton, and he bent his head 
lower and kissed her. Then he walked rapidly to the door, and 
opened it for Mrs. Tait — a pale, delicate-looking lady, wrapped in 
a shawl. These violent headaches, from which she so frequently 
suffered, did not affect her permanent health, but on the days she 
suffered she would be utterly prostrated. Mr. Halliburton gave her 
his arm, and led her to a seat by the fire, his voice low and tender, 
his manner sympathizing. " I am already better," she said to him, 
" and shall be much better after tea. Sometimes I am tempted to 
envy those who do not know what a sick-headache is." 

" They may know other maladies as painful, dear Mrs. Tait." 

" Ay, indeed. None of us can expect to be free from pain of one 
sort or another in this world." 

" Shall I make the tea, mamma ? " asked Jane. 

" Yes, child ; I shall be glad of it, and your papa is sure to be in 
soon. There he is! " she added, as the latch-key was heard in the 
door. " The boys are late this evening." 

The rector came in, and, ere the evening "was over, the news was 
broken to him by Mr. Halliburton. He wanted Jane. 

It was the imperfect, uncertain shadow of twelve months ago 
become substance. It had been a shadow of the future only, you 
understand — not a shadow of evil. To Mr. Halliburton, personally, 
the rector had no objection — he had learned to love, to esteem, and 
to respect him— but it is a serious thing to give away a child. 

" The income is very small to marry upon," he observed. " It is 
also uncertain." 

" Not uncertain, sir, so long as I am blessed with health and 
strength. And I have no reason to fear that these will fail." 

" I thought you were bent on taking Orders." 

Mr. Halliburton's cheek slightly flushed. " It is a prospect I have 
fondly cherished," he said ; " but its difficulties frighten me. The cost 
of the University is great ; and were I to wait until I had saved 
sufficient money for that, I should be obliged, in a great degree, to 
give up my present means of living. Who would employ a tutor 
who must frequently be away for weeks ? I should lose my con- 



THE SHADOW BECOMES SUBSTANCE. 



i3 



nection, and perhaps never regain it. A good teaching connection 
is more easily lost than won." 
" True," observed Mr. Tait. 

" Once in Orders, I might remain for years a poor curate. I 
should most likely do so. I have neither interest nor influence. Sir, 
in that case Jane and I might be obliged to wait for years : perhaps 
go down to our graves, waiting." 

The Rev. Francis Tait cast back his thoughts. How he had 
waited ; how he was not able to marry until years were advancing 
upon him ; how in four years now he should have attained three- 
score years and ten — the term allotted to the life of man — while his 
children were still growing up around him ! No ! never, never 
would he counsel another to wait as he had been obliged to wait. 

" I have not yet given up hope of eventually entering the Church," 
continued Mr. Halliburton; "though it must be accomplished, if at 
all, slowly and patiently. I think I may be able to keep one term, 
or perhaps two terms yearly, without damaging my teaching. I 
shall try to do so : try to find the necessary means and the time. 
My marriage will make no difference to that, sir." 

Many might have suggested to Edgar Halliburton that he might 
keep his terms first, and marry afterwards. Mr. Tait did not : 
possibly the idea did not occur to him. If it occurred to Edgar 
Halliburton himself, he drove it from him. It would have delayed 
his marriage to an indefinite number of years ; and he loved Jane 
too well to do that willingly. " I shall still get much better prefer- 
ment in teaching than that which I now hold," he urged aloud to 
the rector. " It is not so very small to begin upon, sir, and Jane is 
willing to risk it." 

" I will not part you and. Jane," said Mr. Tait, warmly. " If you 
have made up your minds to share life and its cares together, you 
shall do so. Still, I cannot say that I think your prospects golden." 

" Prospects that appear to have no gold at all in them sometimes 
turn out very brightly, sir." 
. " I can give Jane nothing, you know." 

" I have never cast a thought to it, sir ; I have never expected 
that she would have a shilling," replied Mr. Halliburton, his face 
flushing with his eagerness. "It is Jane herself I want ; not 
money." 

" Beyond a twenty-pound note which I may give her to put into 
her pocket on her wedding morning, that she may not go out of my 
house absolutely penniless, she will have nothing," cried the rector, 
in his straightforward manner. " Far from saving, I and her 
mother have been hardly able to make both ends meet at the end 
of the year. I might have saved a few pounds yearly, had I 
chosen to do so ; but you know what this parish is ; and the reflection 
has always been upon me : how would my Master look upon my 
putting by small sums of money, when many of those over whom I 
am placed were literally starving for bread ? I have given what I 
could : but I have not. saved for my children." 



14 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" You have done well, sir." 

Mr. Tait sought his daughter. "Jane," he began — " Nay, child, 
do not tremble so ! There is no need for trembling, or for tears, 
either : you have done nothing to displease me. Jane, I like Edgar 
Halliburton ; I like him much. There is no one to whom I would 
rather give you. But I do not like his prospects. Teaching is very 
precarious." 

Jane raised her timid eyes. " Precarious for him, papa ? For 
one learned and clever as he ! " 

" It is badly paid. See how he toils — and he will have to toil 
more when the new year comes in — and only to earn two or three 
hundred a year ! — in round numbers." 

Tears gathered in Jane's eyes. Toil as he did, badly paid as he 
might be, she would rather have him than any other in the world, 
though that other might have revelled in thousands and thousands. 
The rector read somewhat of this in her downcast face. 

" My dear, the consideration lies with you. If you choose to 
venture upon it, you shall have my consent, and I know that you 
will have your mother's, for she thinks there's not such another in 
the world as Edgar Halliburton. But it may bring you many 
troubles." 

" Papa, I am not afraid. If troubles come, they — you — told us 

only last night " 

" What, child ? " 

" That troubles, regarded rightly, only lead us nearer to God," 
whispered Jane, simply and timidly. 

" Right, child. And trouble must come before that great truth 
can be realized. Consider the question well, Jane, — whether it may 
not be better to wait — and give your answer to-morrow. I shall 
tell Mr. Halliburton not to ask for it to-night. As you decide, so 
shall it be." 

Need you be told what Jane's decision was? Two hundred and 
eighty-three pounds a year seems a large sum to an inexperienced 
girl ; quite sufficient to buy everything that may be wanted for a 
fireside. 

And so she became Jane Halliburton. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE REV. FRANCIS TAIT. 

A HOT afternoon in July. Jane Halliburton was in the drawing- 
room with her mother, both of them sewing busily. It was a large 
room, with three windows, more pleasant than the dining-room 
beneath, and they were fond of sitting in it in summer. Jane had 
been married some three or four months now, but she looked the 
same young, simple, placid girl that she ever did ; and, but for the 



THE REV. FRANCIS TAIT. 



15 



wedding-ring upon her finger, no stranger would have supposed her 
to be a wife. 

An excellent arrangement had been arrived at — that she and her 
husband should remain inmates of Mr. Tait's house : at any rate, 
for the present. When plans were being discussed, before making 
the necessary arrangements for the marriage, and Mr. Halliburton 
was spending all his superfluous minutes hunting for a house that 
might suit him near to the old home, and not too dear, Francis 
Tait had given utterance to a remark — " I wonder who we shall get 
here in Mr. Halliburton's place, if papa takes any one else?" and 
Margaret, looking up from her drawing, had added, " Why can't 
Mr. Halliburton and Jane stay on with us ? It would be so much 
pleasanter." 

It was the first time that the idea had been presented in any 
shape to the rector. It seemed to go straight to his wishes. He 
put down a book he was reading, and spoke impulsively. " It 
would be the best thing ; the very best thing ! Would you like it, 
Halliburton?" 

u I should, sir ; very much. But it is Jane who must be consulted, 
not me." 

Jane, her pretty cheeks covered with blushes, looked up, and 
said that she should like it also : she had thought of it, but had not 
liked to mention it, either to her mamma or to Mr. Halliburton. 
" I have been quite troubled to think what mamma and the house 
will do without me," she added, ingenuously. 

" Let Jane alone for thinking and planning, when difficulties are 
in the way," laughed Margaret. " My opinion is, that we shall 
never get another pudding, or papa have his black silk Sunday 
hose darned, if Jane goes from us." 

Mrs. Tait burst into tears. Like Margaret, she was a bad 
manager in a house, and had mourned over Jane's departure, 
secretly believing that she should be half worried to death. " Oh ! 
Jane, dear, say you'll remain ! " she cried. " It will be such a relief 
to me ! Margaret's of no earthly use, and everything will fall on 
my shoulders. Edgar, I hope you will remain with us ! It will be 
pleasant for us all. You know' the house is large enough." 

And remain they did. The wedding took place at Easter, and 
Mr. Halliburton took Jane all the way to Dover to see the sea — a 
long way in those days — and kept her there for a week. And then 
they came back again, Jane to her old home duties, just as though 
she were Jane Tait still, and Mr. Halliburton to his teaching. 

It was July now, and hot weather ; and Mrs. Tait and Jane were 
sewing in the drawing-room. They were working for Margaret. 
Mr. Halliburton, through some of his teaching connections, had 
obtained an excellent situation for Margaret in a first-rate school. 
Margaret was to enter as resident pupil, and receive every advan- 
tage towards the completion of her own education; in return for 
which, she was to teach the younger pupils music, and pay tea 
pounds per annum. Such an arrangement was almost unknown 



16 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



then, though it has become common enough since, and Mr. and 
Mrs. Tait thought of it very highly. Margaret Tait was only 
sixteen ; but, as if in contrast to Jane, who looked younger than 
her actual years, Margaret looked older. In appearance, in 
manners, and also in advancement, Margaret might have been 
judged to be eighteen. 

She was to enter the school, which was situated near Harrow, 
in another week, at the termination of the holidays, and Mrs. Tait 
and Jane had their hands full, getting her clothes ready. 

" Was this slip measured, mamma ? " Jane suddenly asked, after 
attentively regarding the work she had on her knee. 

" I think so, Jane," replied Mrs. Tait. " Why ? " 

" It looks too short for Margaret. At least, it will be too short 
when I have finished this fourth tuck. It must have been measured, 
though, for here are the pins in it. Perhaps Margaret measured it 
herself." 

" Then of course it must be measured again. There's no trusting 
to anything Margaret does in the shape of work. And yet, how 
clever she is at music and drawing — in fact, at all her studies ! " 
added Mrs. Tait. " It is well, Jane, that we are not all gifted alike." 

" I think it is, mamma," acquiesced Jane. " I will go up to Mar- 
garet's room for one of her slips, and measure this." 

" You need not do that," said Mrs. Tait. " There's an old slip of 
hers amongst the work on the sofa." 

Jane found the slip, and measured the one in her hand by it. 
"Yes, mamma! It is just the length without the tuck. Then I 
must take out what I have done of it. It is very little." 

" Come hither, Jane. Your eyes are younger than mine. Is 
not that your papa coming towards us from the far end of the 
square ? " 

Jane approached the window nearest to her, not the one at 
which Mrs. Tait was sitting. " Oh yes, that's papa. You might 
tell him by his dress, if by nothing else, mamma." 

" I could tell him by himself, if I could see," said Mrs. Tait, 
quaintly. " I don't know how it is, Jane, but my sight grows very 
imperfect for a distance." 

" Never mind that, mamma, so that you continue to see well to 
work and read," said Jane, cheerily. " How fast papa is walking ! " 

Very fast for the Rev. Francis Tait, who was not in general a quick 
walker. He entered his house, and came up to the drawing-room. 
He had not been well for the last few days, and threw himself into 
a chair, wearily. 

" Jane, is there any of that beef-tea left, that was made for me 
yesterday ? " 

" Yes, papa," she said, springing up, that she might get it for him. 
" I will bring it to you immediately." 

" Stay, stay, child, not so fast," he interrupted. " It is not for 
myself. I can do without it. I have been pained by a sad sight," 
he added, looking at his wife. " There's that daughter of the Widow 



THE REV. FRANCIS TAIT. 



17 



Booth's come home again. I called in upon them, and there she 
was, lying on a mattress, dying from famine, as I verily believe. 
She returned last night in a dreadful state of exhaustion, the 
mother says, and has had nothing within her lips since, but cold 
water. They tried her with solid food, but she could not swallow 
it. That beef-tea will just do for her. Have it warmed, Jane." 

" She is a sinful, ill-doing girl, Francis," remarked Mrs. Tait. 
" She does not really deserve compassion." 

"All the more reason, wife, that she should be rescued from 
death," said the rector, almost sternly. " The good may dare to 
die ; the evil may not. Don't waste time, Jane. Put it into a 
bottle, warm, and I'll carry it round." 

"Is there nothing else that we can send her, papa, that may do 
for her equally well ? " asked Jane. " A little wine, perhaps ? 
There is very little of the beef-tea left, and it ought to be kept for 
you." 

" Never mind ; I wish to take it to her," said the rector. " A 
little wine afterwards may do her good." 

Jane hastened to the kitchen, disturbing a servant who was 
doing something over the fire. " Susan, papa wants that drop of 
beef-tea warmed. Will you make haste and do it, while I search 
for a bottle to put it into ? It is to be taken round to Charity 
Booth." 

- " What ! is she back again ? " exclaimed the servant, slightingly, 
which told that her estimation of Charity Booth was no higher than 
was that of her mistress. " It's just like the master," she continued, 
proceeding to do what was required of her. " It's not often that 
anything's made for himself ; but if it is, he never gets the benefit of 
it ; he's sure to drop across somebody that he fancies wants it worse 
than he does. It's not right, Miss Jane." 

Jane was searching a cupboard. She brought forth a clean green 
bottle, which held about half-a-pint. " This will be quite large 
enough, I think." 

" I should think it would ! " grumbled Susan, who could not be 
brought to look upon the giving away of her master's own peculiar 
property as anything but a personal grievance. "There's barely a. 
gill of it left, and he ought to have had it himself, Miss Jane." 

" Susan," said she, turning her bright face laughingly towards the 
woman, " it is a good thing that you went to church and saw me 
married, or I might think you meant to reflect upon me. How can 
I be ' Miss Jane,' with this ring on ?" 

" It's of no good my trying to remember it, miss. All the parish 
knows you are Mrs. Halliburton, fast enough ; but it don't come 
ready to me." 

Jane laughed pleasantly. " Where is Mary ? " she asked. 

" In the back room, going on with some of Miss Margaret's 
things. It's cooler, sitting there, than in this hot kitchen." 
: Jane carried the little bottle of beef-tea to her father, and gave 
it into his hand. He looked very pale, and rose from his chair slowly. 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 2 



r8 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Oh, papa, you do not seem well! " she involuntarily exclaimed. 
" Let me run and beat you up an egg. I will not be a minute." 

" I can't wait, child. And I question if I could eat it, were it 
ready before me. I do not feel well, as you say." 

" You ought to have taken this beef-tea yourself, papa. It was 
made for you." 

Jane could not help laying a stress upon the word. Mr. Tait 
placed his hand gently upon her smoothly parted hair. " Jane, child, 
had I thought of myself before others, throughout life, how should I 
have been following ray Master's precepts ? " 

She ran down the stairs before him, opening the front door for 
him to pass through, that even that little exertion should be spared 
him. A loving, dutiful daughter was Jane; and it is probable that 
the thought of her worth especially crossed the mind of the rector 
at that moment. " God bless you, my child ! " he aspirated, as he 
passed her. 

Jane watched him across the square. Their house, though not 
actually in the square, commanded a view of it. Then she returned 
upstairs to her mother. " Papa thinks he will not lose time," she 
observed. " He is walking fast." 

" I should call it running," responded Mrs. Tait, who had seen the 
speed from the window. " But, my dear, he'll do no good with that 
badly conducted Charity Booth." 

About an hour passed away, and it was drawing towards dinner- 
time. Jane and Mrs. Tait were busy as ever, when Mr. Halliburton's 
well-known knock was heard. 

" Edgar is home early this morning ! " Jane exclaimed. 

He came springing up the stairs, two at a time, in great haste, 
opened the drawing-room door, and just put in his head. Mrs. Tait, 
sitting with her back to the door and her face to the window, did 
not turn round, and consequently did not see him. Jane did ; and 
was startled. Every vestige of colour had forsaken his face. 

" Oh, Edgar ! You are ill ! " 

" 111 ! Not I," affecting to speak gaily. " I want you for a minute, 
Jane." 

Mrs. Tait had looked round at Jane's exclamation, but Mr. 
Halliburton's face was then withdrawn. He was standing outside 
the door when Jane went out. He did not speak; but took her 
hand in silence and drew her into the back room, which was their 
own bedroom, and closed the door. Jane's face had grown as white 
as his. 

" My darling, I did not mean to alarm you," he said, holding her 
to him. " I thought -you had a brave heart, Jane. I thought that, 
if I had a little unpleasant news to impart, it would be best to tell 
you, that you may help me soothe it to the rest." 

Jane's heart was not feeling very brave. " What is it ? " she asked, 
scarcely able to speak the words from her ghastly lips. 

"Jane," he said, tenderly and gravely, ' ' before I say any more, 
you must strive for calmness." 



THE REV. FRANCIS TAIT. 



19 



" It is not about yourself! You are not ill ? M 
r The question seemed superfluous. Mr. Halliburton was evidently 
not ill ; but he was agitated. Jane was frightened and perplexed : 
not a glimpse of the real truth crossed her. " Tell me what it is at 
once, Edgar," she said, in a calmer tone. " I can bear certainty 
better than suspense." 

" Why, yes, I think you are becoming brave already," he answered, 
looking straight into her eyes, and smiling — which was intended to 
reassure her. " I must have my wife show herself a woman to-day ; 
not a child. See what a bungler I am ! I thought to tell you all 
quietly and smoothly, without alarming you ; and see what I have 
done ! — startled you to terror." 

Jane smiled faintly. She knew all this was only the precursor 
of tidings that must be very ill and grievous. By a great effort she 
schooled herself to calmness. Mr. Halliburton continued : 

" One, whom you and I love very much, has — has — met with an 
accident, Jane." 

Her fears went straight to the right quarter at once. With that 
one exception by her side, there was no one she loved as she loved 
her father. 

" Papa?" 

" Yes. We must break it to Mrs. Tait." 

Her heart beat wildly against his hand, and the livid hue was once 
more overspreading her face. But she strove urgently for calmness : 
he whispered to her of its necessity for her own sake. 

" Edgar ! it is death ? " 

It was death ; but he would not tell her so yet. He plunged into 
the attendant details. 

" He was hastening along with a small bottle in his hand, Jane. ' 
It contained something good for one of the sick poor, I am sure, for 
he was in their neighbourhood. Suddenly he was observed to fall ; 
and the spectators raised him and took him to a doctor's. That 
doctor, unfortunately, was not at home, and they took him to another, 
so that time was lost. He was quite unconscious." 

" But you do not tell me ! " she wailed. " Is he dead ? " 

Mr. Halliburton asked himself a question — What good would be 
done by delaying the truth ? He thought he had performed his task 
very badly. " Jane, Jane ! " he whispered, " I can only hope to help 
you to bear it better than I have broken it to you." 

She could not shed tears in that first awful moment : physically 
and mentally, she leaned on him for support. " How can we tell 
my mother ? " 

It was necessary that Mrs. Tait should be told, and without 
delay. Even then the body was being conveyed to the house. By 
a curious coincidence, Mr. Halliburton had been passing the last 
doctor's surgery at the very moment the crowd was round its doors. 
Unusual business had called him there ; or else it was a street he 
did not enter once in a year. " The parson has fallen down in a fit," 
said some of them, recognizing and arresting him. 



20 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



. " The parson ! " he repeated. " What ! Mr. Tait ? " 
" Sure enough," said they. And Mr. Halliburton pressed into 
the surgeon's house, just as the examination was over. 
" The heart, no doubt, sir," said the doctor to him. 
" He surely is not dead ? " 

" Quite dead. He must have died instan taneously." 

The news had been wafted to the mob outside, and they were 
already taking a shutter from its hinges. " I will go on first and 
prepare the family," said Mr. Halliburton to them. " Give me a 
quarter of an hour's start, and then come on." 

So that he had only a quarter of an hour for it all. His thoughts 
naturally turned to his wife : not simply to spare her alarm and 
pain, so far as he might, but he believed her, young as she was, to 
possess more calmness and self-control than did Mrs. Tait. As he 
sped to the house, he rehearsed his task ; and he might have 
accomplished it better, but for his tell-tale face. "Jane," he 
whispered, " let this be your consolation ever : he was ready to go." 

" Oh yes ! " she answered, bursting into a storm of most dis- 
tressing tears. "If any one here was ever fit for heaven, it was my 
dear father." 

" Hark! " exclaimed Mr. Halliburton. 

Some noise had arisen downstairs — a sound of voices speaking 
in an undertone. There could be no doubt that people had come 
to the house with the news, and were imparting it to the two 
trembling servants. 

" There's not a moment to be lost, Jane." 

How Jane dried her eyes, and suppressed all temporary sign of 
grief and emotion, she could not tell. A sense of duty was strong 
within her, and she knew that the most imperative duty of the 
present moment was the support and solace of her mother. She and 
her husband entered the drawing-room together, and Mrs. Tait 
turned with a smile to Mr. Halliburton. 

" What secrets have you and Jane been talking together? " Then, 
catching sight of Jane's white and quivering lips, she broke into 
a cry of agony. "Jane! what has happened? What have you 
both come to tell me?" 

The tears poured from Jane's fair young face as she clasped her 
mother fondly to her, tenderly whispering : " Dearest mamma, you 
must lean upon us now ! We will all love you and take care of you 
as we have never yet done." 



( 21 ) 



CHAPTER IV. 

NEW PLANS. 

The post-mortem examination established beyond doubt the fact, 
that the Rev. Francis Tait's death was caused by heart disease. 
In the earlier period of his life it had been suspected that he was 
subject to it, but of late years unfavourable symptoms had not 
shown themselves. 

With him, died of course almost all his means ; and his family, 
if not left utterly destitute, had little to boast in the way of wealth. 
Mrs. Tait enjoyed, and had for some time enjoyed, an annuity of 
fifty pounds per annum ; but it would cease at her death, whenever 
that event should take place. What was she to do with her 
children ? Many a bereaved widow, far worse off than Mrs. Tait, has 
to ask the same perplexing question every day. Mrs. Tait's children 
were partially off her hands. Jane had her husband ; Francis was 
earning his own living as an under-master in a school ; with Margaret 
ten pounds a year must be paid ; and there was still Robert. 

The death had occurred in July. By October they must be 
away from the house. " You will be at no loss for a home, Mrs. 
Tait," Mr. Halliburton took an opportunity of kindly saying to her. 
" You must allow me and Jane to welcome you to ours." 

" Yes, Edgar," was Mrs. Tait's unhesitating reply ; " it will be the 
best plan. The furniture in this house will do for yours, and you ' 
shall have it, and you must take me and my small means into it — 
an incumbrance to you. I have pondered it all over, and I do not 
see anything else that can be done." 

" I have no right whatever to your furniture, Mrs. Tait," he 
replied, " and Jane has no more right to it than have your other 
children. The furniture shall be put in my house, if you please ; 
but you must either allow me to pay you for it, or else it shall 
remain your own, to be removed again at any time that you may 
please." 

A house was looked for, and taken. The furniture was valued, 
and Mr. Halliburton bought it — a fourth part of the sum Mrs. 
Tait positively refusing to take, for she declared that so much 
belonged to Jane. Then they quitted the old house of many years, 
and moved into the new one : Mr. and Mrs. Halliburton, Mrs. Tait, 
Robert, and the two servants. 

" Will it be prudent for you, my dear, to retain both the servants ? " 
Mrs. Tait asked of her daughter. 

Jane blushed vividly. "W T e could do with one at present, 
mamma; but the time will be coming that I shall require two. 
And Susan and Mary are both so good that I do not care to part 
with them, You are used to them, too," 



22 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Ah, child ! I know that in all your plans and schemes you and 
Edgar think first of my comfort. Do you know what I was think- 
ing of last night as I lay in bed ? " 

" What, mamma?" 

"When Mr. Halliburton first spoke of wanting you, I and your 
poor papa felt inclined to hesitate, thinking you might have made 
a better match. But, my dear, I was wondering last night what we 
should have done in this crisis, but for him." 

" Yes," said Jane, gently. " Things that appear untoward at the 
time frequently turn out afterwards to have been the very best 
that could have happened. God directs all things, you know, 
mamma." 

A contention arose respecting Robert, some weeks after they had 
been in their new house — or, it may be better to call it, a discussion. 
Robert had never taken very kindly to what he called book-learning. 
Mr. Tait's wish had been that both his sons should enter the 
Church. Robert had never openly opposed this wish, and for the 
calling itself he had a liking ; but particularly disliked the study and 
application necessary to fit him for it. Silent while his father lived, 
he was so no longer ; but took every opportunity of urging the point 
upon his mother. He was still attending Dr. Percy's school daily. 

" You know, mother," dropping down one day in a chair, close to 
his mother and Jane, and catching up one leg to nurse — rather a 
favourite action of his — " I shall never earn salt at it." 

" Salt at what, Robert ? " asked Mrs. Tait. 

"Why, at these rubbishing classics, /shall never make a tutor, 
as Mr. Halliburton and Francis do ; and what on earth's to become 
of me? As to any chance of my being a parson, of course that's 
over : where's the money to come from ? " 

"What is to become of you, then? " cried Mrs. Tait. " I'm sure 
I don't know." 

" Besides," went on Robert, lowering his voice, and calling up 
the most effectual argument he could think of, " I ought to be doing 
something for myself I am living here upon Mr. Halliburton." 

" He is delighted to have you, Robert," interrupted Jane, quickly. 
"Mamma pays " 

" Be quiet, Mrs. Jane ! What sort of a wife do you call yourself, 
pray, to go against your husband's interests in that manner ? I 
heard you preaching up to the charity children the other day about 
it being sinful to waste time." 

"Well?" said Jane. 

" Well ! what's waste of time for other people is not waste of time 
for me, I suppose?" went on Robert. 

" You are not wasting your time, Robert." 

" I am. And if you had the sense that people give you credit for, 
Madam Jane, you'd see it. I shall never, I say, earn my salt at 
teaching ; and— just tell me yourself whether there seems any chance 
now that I shall enter the Church?" 

"At present I do not see that there is," confessed Jane. 



NEW PLANS. 



23 



u There ! Then is it waste of time, or not, my continuing to study 
for a career which I can never enter upon? " 

"But what else can you do, Robert?" interposed Mrs. Tait. 
"You cannot idle your time away at home, or be running about the 
streets all day." 

" No," said Robert, " better stop at school for ever than do that. 
I want to see the world, mother." 

" You— want — to — see — the — world ! " echoed Mrs. Tait, bringing 
out her words slowly in her astonishment, while Jane looked up 
from her work, and fixed her eyes upon her brother. 

" It's only natural that I should," said Robert, with equanimity. 
" I have an invitation to go down into Yorkshire." 

" What to do ? " cried Mrs. Tait. 

" Oh, lots of things. They keep hunters, and " 

" Why, you never were on horseback in your life, Robert," laughed 
Jane. " You would come back with your neck broken." 

" I do wish you'd be quiet, Jane ! " returned Robert, reddening. 
" I am talking to mamma, not to you. Winchcombe has invited 
me to spend the Christmas holidays with him down at his father's 
seat in Yorkshire. And, mother, I want to go ; and I want you to 
promise that I shall not return to school when the holidays are 
over. I will do anything else that you choose to put me to. I'll 
learn to be a man of business, or I'll go into an office, or I'd go 
apprentice to a doctor — anything you like, rather than stop at these 
everlasting school-books. I am sick of them." 

" Robert, you take my breath away ! " uttered Mrs. Tait. " I have 
no interest anywhere. I could not get you into any of these places." 

" I dare say Mr. Halliburton could. He knows lots of people. 
Jane, you talk to him : he'll do anything for you." 

There ensued, I say, much discussion about Robert. But it is 
not with Robert Tait that our story has to do ; and only a few 
words need be given to him here and there. It appeared to them 
all that it would be inexpedient for him to continue at school ; both 
with regard to his own wishes, and to his prospects. He was allowed 
to pay the visit with his schoolfellow, and (as he came back with 
neck unbroken) Mr. Halliburton succeeded in placing him in a large 
wholesale warehouse. Robert appeared to like it very much at first, 
and always came home to spend Sunday w r ith them. 

"He may rise in time to be one of the first mercantile men in 
London," observed Mr. Halliburton to his wife; "one of our mer- 
chant-princes, as my uncle used to say by me, if only " 

" If what? Why do you hesitate? " she asked. 

" If he will only persevere, I was going to say. But, Jane, I fear 
perseverance is a quality that Robert does not possess." 

Of course all that had to be proved. It lay in the future. 



24 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES, 



CHAPTER V. 

MARGARET. 

From two to three years passed away, and the Midsummer holidays 
were approaching. Margaret was expected as usual for them, 
and Jane, delighted to receive her, went about her glad preparations. 
Margaret would not return to the school, in which she had been a 
paid teacher for the last year ; but was to enter a family as gover- 
ness. For one efficient, well-educated, accomplished governess to 
be met with in those days, scores may be counted now — or who 
profess to be so : and Margaret Tait, though barely nineteen, 
anticipated a salary of seventy or eighty guineas a year. 

A warm, bright day in June, that on which Mr. Halliburton went 
to receive Margaret. The coach brought her to its resting-place, 
the " Bull and Mouth," in St. Martin's-le-Grand, and Mr. Hallibur- 
ton reached the inn as St. Paul's clock was striking midday. One 
minute more, and the coach drove in. 

There she was, inside ; a tall, fine girl, with a handsome face : a 
face full of resolution and energy. Margaret Tait had her good 
qualities, and she had also her faults : a great one, speaking of the 
latter, was self-will. She opened the door herself, and leaped out 
before any one could help her, all joy and delight. 

" And what about your boxes, Margaret ? " questioned Mr. Halli- 
burton, after a few words of greeting. " Have they come this time, 
or not ? " 

Margaret laughed. " Yes, they really have. I have not lost 
them on the road, as I did at Christmas. You will never forget to 
tell me of that, I am sure ! But it was more the guard's fault than 
mine." 

A few minutes, and Mr. Halliburton, Margaret, and the boxes 
were lumbering along in one of the old glass coaches. 

" And now tell me about every one," said Margaret. " How is 
dear mamma ? " 

" She is quite well. We are all well. Jane's famous." 

" And my precious little Willy ? " 

" Oh," said Mr. Halliburton, quaintly, " he is a great deal too 
troublesome for anything to be the matter with him. I tell Jane 
she will have to begin the whipping system soon." 

" And much Jane will attend to you ! Is it a pretty baby ? " 

Mr. Halliburton raised his eyebrows. " Jane thinks so. I wonder 
she has not had its likeness taken." 

" Is it christened ?" continued Margaret. 

" It is baptized. Jane would not have the christening until you 
were at home." 
(< And its name ? " 



MARGARET, 



25 



" Jane." 

"What a shame! Jane promised me it should be Margaret. 
Why did she decide upon her own name ? " 

" I decided upon it," said Mr. Halliburton. " Yours can wait 
until the next, Margaret." 

Margaret laughed. " And how are you getting on ? " 

"Very well. I have every hour of the day occupied." 

" I don't think you are looking well," rejoined Margaret. " You 
look thin and fagged." 

" I am always thin, and mine is a fagging profession. Sometimes 
I feel terribly weary. But I am pretty well upon the whole, 
Margaret." 

" Will Francis be at home these holidays ? " 
"No. He passes them at a gentleman's house in Norfolk — tutor 
to his sons, Francis is thoroughly industrious and persevering." 
" A contrast to poor Robert, I suppose ? " 
" Well — yes ; in that sense." 

" There has been some trouble about Robert, has there not ? " 
asked Margaret, her tone becoming grave. " Did he not get dis- 
charged ? " 

"He received notice of discharge. But I saw the principals, and 
begged him on again. I would not talk about it to him, were I 
you, Margaret. He is sensitive upon the point. Robert's inten- 
tions are good, but his disposition is fickle. He has grown tired of 
his place, and idles his time away ; no house of business will put up 
with that." 

The coach arrived at Mr. Halliburton's. Margaret rushed out of 
it, giving no one time to assist her, as she had done out of the other 
coach at the " Bull and Mouth." There was a great deal of im- 
petuosity in Margaret Tait's character. She was quite a contrast 
to Jane — as she had just remarked, there was a contrast between 
Francis and Robert upon other points — to sensible, lady-like, self- 
possessed Jane, who came forward, so calmly, to greet her, a glad 
depth of affection in her quiet eyes. 

A boisterous embrace to her mother, a boisterous embrace to 
Jane, all in haste, and then Margaret caught up a little gentleman 
of some two years old, or more, who was standing holding by Jane's 
dress, his finger in his mouth, and his great grey eyes, honest, 
loving, intelligent as were his mother's, cast up in a broad stare at 
Margaret. 

" You naughty Willy ! Have you forgotten Aunt Margaret ? Oh, 
you darling child ! Who's this ? " 

She carried the boy up to the end of the room, where stood their 
old servant Mary, nursing an infant of two months old. The baby 
had great grey eyes also, and they likewise were bent on noisy 
Margaret. " Oh, Willy, she is prettier than you ! I won't nurse 
you any more. Mary, I'll shake hands with you presently. I must 
take that enchanting baby first." 

Propping discarded Willy upon the ground, snatching the baby 



26 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



from Mary's arms, Margaret kissed its pretty face until she made it 
cry. Jane came to the rescue. 

" You don't understand babies, Margaret. Let Mary have her 
again. Come upstairs to your room, and make yourself ready for 
dinner. I think you must be hungry." 

" So hungry that I shall frighten you. Of course, with the thought 
of coming home, I could not touch breakfast. I hope you have 
something especially nice ! " 

" It is your favourite dinner," said Jane, smiling. " Loin of veal 
and broccoli." 

" How thoughtful you are, Jane ! " Margaret could not help 
exclaiming. 

" Margaret, my dear," called out her mother, as she was leaving 
the room with Jane. 

Margaret looked back. " What, mamma ? " 

" I hope you will not continue to go on with these children as you 
have begun ; otherwise we shall have a quiet house turned into a 
noisy one." 

" Is it a quiet house, mamma? " said Margaret, laughing. 

" As if any house would not be quiet, regulated by Jane ? " replied 
Mrs. Tait. And Margaret, laughing still, followed her sister. 

It is curious to remark how differently things sometimes turn out 
from what we intended. Had any one asked Mrs. Tait the day 
that Margaret came home, what Margaret's future career was to be, 
she had wondered at the question. "A governess, certainly," would 
have been her answer ; and she would have thought that no power, 
humanly speaking, could prevent it. And yet, Margaret Tait, as it 
proved, never did become a governess. 

The holidays were drawing to an end, and a very desirable situa- 
tion, as was believed, had been found for Margaret by Mr. Halli- 
burton, the negotiations for which were nearly completed. Mr. 
Halliburton gave private lessons in sundry families of high connec- 
tions, and he was thus enabled to hear where ladies were required 
as governesses. Thus he had recommended Margaret. The recom- 
mendation was favourably received, and a day was appointed for 
Margaret to make a personal visit at the town house of the people 
in question, when she would most probably be engaged. 

On the previous evening at dusk Mr. Halliburton came home from 
one of his numerous engagements. Jane was alone. Mrs. Tait, not 
very well, had retired to rest early, and Margaret was out with 
Robert. In this, a leisure season of the year, Robert had most of 
his evenings to himself, after eight o'clock. He generally came 
home, and he and Margaret would go out together. Mr. Hallibur- 
ton sat down at one of the windows in silence. 

Jane went up to him, laying her hand affectionately on his 
shoulder. " You are very tired, Edgar ? " 

He did not reply in words. He only drew her hand between his, 
and kept it there. 

" You shall have supper at once," said Jane, glancing at the tray 



MARGARET. 



27 



which stood ready on the table. " I am sure you must want it. 
And it is not right to indulge Margaret every night by waiting for 
her." 

" Scarcely, when she does not come in until ten or half-past," said 
Mr. Halliburton. "Jane," he added, in a kind, confidential tone, 
"do you think it well that Margaret should be out so frequently in 
an evening ? " 

" She is with Robert." 

" She may not always be with Robert alone." 

Jane felt her face grow rather hot. She knew her husband ; knew 
that he was not one to speak unless he had some cause for doing so. 
"Edgar! why do you say this? Do you know anything? Have 
you seen Margaret ?" 

" I saw her a quarter of an hour ago " 

" With Robert ? " interrupted Jane, more impulsively than she 
was accustomed to speak. 

" Robert was by her side. But she was walking arm in arm with 
Mr. Murray." 

Jane did not much like the information. This Mr. Murray was 
in the same house as Robert, holding a better position in it. Robert 
had occasionally brought him home, and he had taken tea with 
them. Mrs. Halliburton felt surprised at Margaret : it appeared, 
to her well-regulated mind, very like a clandestine proceeding. 
What would she have said, or thought, had she known that Mar- 
garet and Mr. Murray were in the habit of thus walking together 
constantly ? Robert's being with them afforded no sufficient 
excuse. 

Later, they saw Margaret coming home, with Robert alone. He 
left her at the door as usual, and then hastened away to his own 
home. Jane said nothing then, but she went to Margaret's room 
that evening. 

"Oh, Edgar has been bringing home tales, has he?" was Mar- 
garet's answer, when the ice was broken ; and her defiant tone 
brought, Jane hardly knew what of dismay to her ear. " I saw him 
staring at us." 

" Margaret ! " gasped Jane, " what can have come to you ? You 
are completely changed ; you — you seem to speak no longer as a 
lady." 

" Then why do you provoke me, Jane ? Is it high treason to take 
a gentleman's arm, my brother being with me ? " 

" It is not right to do it in secret, Margaret. If you go out osten- 
sibly to walk with Robert " 

"Jane, I will not listen," Margaret said, with a flashing eye. 
"'Because you are Mrs. Halliburton, you assume a right to lecture 
me. I have committed no grievous wrong. When I do commit it, 
you may take your turn then." 

"Oh, Margaret! why will you misjudge me?" asked Jane, her 
voice full of pain. " I speak to you in love, not in anger ; I would 
not speak at all. but for your good. If the family you are about to 



28 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



enter, the Chevasneys, were to hear of this, they might think you an 
unsuitable mistress for their children." 

" Compose yourself," said Margaret, scoffingly. Never had she 
shown such temper, so undesirable a disposition, as on this night ; 
and Jane might well look at her in amazement, and hint that she 
was " changed." " I shall be found sufficiently suitable by the 
Chevasney family — when I consent to enter it." 

Her tone was strangely significant, and Jane Halliburton's heart 
beat. " What do you imply, Margaret?" she inquired. "You 
appear to have some peculiar meaning." 

Margaret, who had been standing before the glass all this time, 
twisting her hair round her fingers, turned and looked her sister full 
in the face. " Jane, I'll tell you, if you will undertake to make 
things straight for me with mamma. I am not going to the 
Chevasneys — or anywhere else — as governess." 

" Yes," — said Jane faintly, for she had a presentiment of what was 
coming. 

" I am going to be married instead." 
" Oh, Margaret ! " 

"There is nothing to groan about," ietorted Margaret. "Mr. 
Murray is coming to speak to mamma to-morrow, and if any of you 
have anything to say against him, you can say it to his face. He is 
a very respectable man; he has a good income ; where's the objec- 
tion to him ? " 

Jane could not say. Personally, she did not very much like Mr. 
Murray; and certain fond visions had pictured a higher destiny for 
handsome, accomplished Margaret. " I hope and trust you will be 
happy, if you do marry him, Margaret ! " was all she said. 

" I hope I shall. I must take my chance of that, as others do. 
Jane, I beg your pardon for my crossness, but you put me out of 
temper." 

As others do. Ay! it was all a lottery. And Margaret Tait 
entered upon her hastily-chosen married life, knowing that it was so. 



CHAPTER VI. 

A VISIT TO THE PHYSICIAN. 

Several years went on ; and years rarely go on without bringing 
changes with them. Jane had now four children. William, the 
eldest, was close upon thirteen ; Edgar, the youngest, going on for 
nine ; Jane and Frank were between them. Mrs. Tait was dead : 
and Francis Tait was the Reverend Francis Tait. By dint of hard 
work and perseverance, he had succeeded in becoming qualified for 
Orders, and he was half starving upon a London curacy, as his 
father had done for so many years before him. In saying "half 
starving," I don't mean that he hacj. not brea4 an4 cheese; but 



A VISIT TO THE PHYSICIAN. 



29 



when a clergyman's stipend is under a hundred a year, all told, 
the expression "half starving" is justifiable. He hungers after 
many things that he is unable to obtain, and he cannot maintain 
his position as a gentleman. Francis Tait hungered. Over one 
want, in especial, he hungered with an intensely ravenous hunger ; 
and that was, the gratification of his taste for literature. The books 
he coveted to read were expensive; impossibilities to him; he 
could not purchase them, and libraries were then scarce. Had 
Francis Tait not been gifted with very great conscientiousness, he 
would have joined teaching with his ministry. But the wants of his 
parish required all his time ; and he had inherited that large share 
of the monitor, conscience, from his father. " I suppose I shall 
have a living some time," he would think to himself: "when I am 
growing an old man, probably, as he was when he gained his." 

So the Reverend Francis Tait plodded on at his curacy, and was 
content to wait that far remote day when fortune should drop from 
the skies. 

Where was Margaret? Margaret had bidden adieu to old 
England for ever. Her husband, who had not been promoted in 
his house of business as rapidly as he thought he ought to have 
been, had thrown up his* situation, his home and home ties, and 
had gone out to the woods of Canada to become a settler. Did 
Margaret repent her hasty marriage then ? Did she find that her 
thorough education, her peculiar tastes and habits, so unfitted for 
domestic life, were all lost in those wild woods. Music, drawing, 
languages, literature, of what use were they to her now ? She might 
educate her own children, indeed, as they grew up : the only chance 
of education it appeared likely they would have. That Margaret 
found herself in a peculiarly uncongenial sphere, there could be no 
doubt ; but, like a brave woman as she proved herself, not a hint 
of it, in writing home, ever escaped her, not a shadow of complaint 
could be gathered there. It was not often that she wrote, and her 
letters grew more rare as the years went on. Robert had accom- 
panied them, and he boasted that he liked the life much ; a thousand 
times better than that of the musty old warehouse. 

Mr. Halliburton's teaching was excellent — his income good. He 
was now one of the professors at King's College ; but he had not 
yet succeeded in carrying out his dream — that of getting to the 
University of Oxford, or Cambridge. Mr. Halliburton had begun 
at the wrong end of the ladder : he should have gone to college first, 
and married afterwards. He married first : and, to college he never 
went. A man of moderate means, with a home to keep, a wife, 
children, servants, to provide for, has enough to do with his money 
and time, without spending them at college. He had quite given 
up the idea now ; and, perhaps, he had grown not to regret it very 
keenly : his home was one of refinement, of comfort, of thorough 
happiness. 

But about this period, or indeed, some time prior to it, Mr. 
Halliburton had cause to believe that he was overtaxing his 



30 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



strength. For a long, long while, almost ever since he had been 
in London, he was aware that he had not felt thoroughly strong. 
Hot weather affected him and rendered him languid ; the chills of 
winter gave him a cough ; the keen winds of spring attacked his 
chest He would throw off his ailments bravely and go on again, 
not heeding them, or thinking that they might ever become serious. 
Perhaps he never gave a thought to that, until one evening, when, 
upon coming in after a hard day's toil, he sat down in his chair and 
quietly fainted away. 

Jane and one of the servants were standing over him when he 
recovered — Jane's face very pale and anxious. 

" Do not be alarmed," he said, smiling at her. " I suppose I 
dropped asleep; or lost consciousness in some way." 

" You fainted, Edgar." 

" Fainted, did I ? How silly I must have been ! The room's 
warm, Jane : it must have overpowered me." 

Jane was not deceived. She saw that he was making light of it 
to quiet her alarm. She brought him a glass of wine. He drank 
that, but could not eat anything : he frequently could not eat now. 

" Edgar," she said, you are doing too much. I have seen it for a 
long time past." 

" Seen what, Jane ? " 

" That your strength is not equal to your work. You must give 
up a portion of your teaching." 

" My dear, how can I do so ? " he asked. " Does it not take all I 
earn to meet expenses ? When accounts are settled at the end of 
the year, have we a shilling to spare ? " 

It was so, and Jane knew it ; but her husband's health was above 
every consideration in the world. " We must reduce our expenses," 
she said. " We must cease to live as we are living now. We will 
move into a small house, and keep one small servant, and I will turn 
maid-of-all-work." 

She laughed as she spoke quite merrily; but Mr. Halliburton 
detected a serious meaning in her tone. He shook his head. 

" No, Jane; that time, I hope, will never come." 

He lay awake all that night buried in reflection. Do you know 
what this night-reflection is, when it comes to us in all its racking 
intensity ? Surging over his brain, like the wild waves that chase 
each other on the ocean, came the thought, "What will become 
of my wife and children if I die ? " Thought after thought, they 
all resolved themselves into that one focus : — " I have made no 
provision for my wife and children : what will become of them if I 
am taken ? " 

Mr. Halliburton had one good habit — it was possible that he had 
learnt it from his wife, for it was hers in no common degree — the 
habit of looking steadfastly into the face of trouble. Not to groan 
and grumble at it — to sigh and lament that no one else's trouble 
ever was so great before — but to see how it might best be met and 
contended with ; how the best could be made of it. 



A VISIT TO THE PHYSICIAN. 



3i 



The only feasible way he could see, was that of insuring his life. 
He possessed neither lands nor money. Did he attempt to put by 
a portion of his income, it would take years and years to accumulate 
into a sum worth mentioning. Why, how long would it take him to 
economize only a thousand pounds ? No. There was only one way — 
that of life insurance. It was an idea that would have occurred to 
most of us. He did not know how much it would take from his 
yearly income to effect it. A great deal, he was afraid ; for he was 
approaching what is called middle life. 

He had no secrets from his wife. He consulted her upon every 
point ; she was his best friend, his confidant, his gentle counsellor, 
and he had no intention of concealing the step he was about to take. 
Why should he ? 

" Jane," he began, when they were at breakfast the next morning, 
" do you know what I have been thinking of all night ? " 

" Trouble, I am sure," she answered. " You have been very 
restless." 

"Not exactly trouble, Jane," — for he did not choose to acknow- 
ledge, even to himself, that a strange sense of trouble did seem to 
rest on his heart, and to weigh it down. " I have been thinking 
more of precaution than trouble." 

" Precaution ? " echoed Jane, looking at him. 

" Ay, love. And the astonishing part of the business, to myself, is 
that I never thought of the necessity for this precaution before." 

Jane divined now what he meant. Often and often had the idea 
occurred to her — " Should my husband's health or life fail, we 
are destitute." Not for herself did she so much care, but for her 
children. 

" That sudden attack last night has brought reflection to me," he 
resumed. " Life is uncertain with the best of us. It may be no 
more uncertain with me than with others ; but I feel that I must 
act as though it were so. Jane, were I taken, there would be no 
provision for you." 

"No," she quietly said. 

"And therefore I must set about making one without delay, so 
far as I can. I shall insure my life." 

Jane did not answer immediately. " It will take a great deal of 
money, Edgar," she presently said. 

" I fear it will : but it must be done. What's the matter, Jane ? 
You don't look hopeful over it." 

" Because, were you to insure your life, to pay the yearly pre- 
mium, and our living, would necessitate your working as hard as 
you do now." 

" Well ? " said he. " Of course it would." 

" In any case, our expenses shall be much reduced ; of that I am 
determined," she went on, somewhat dreamily, more it seemed in 
soliloquy than to her husband. " But, with this premium to pay 
in addition " 

"Jane," he interrupted, "there's not the least necessity for my 



32 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



relaxing my labours. I shall not think of doing it. I may not 
be very strong, but I am not ill. As to reducing our expenses, I see 
no help for that, inasmuch as that I must draw from them for the 
premium." 

"If you only can keep your health, Edgar, it is certainly what 
ought to be done — to insure your life. The thought has often 
crossed me." 

" Why did you never suggest it?" 

" I scarcely know. I believe I did not like to do so. And I 
really did not see how the premium was to be paid. How much 
shall you insure it for?" 

" I thought of two thousand pounds. Could we afford more?" 

" I think not. What would be the yearly premium for that 
sum?" 

" I don't know. I will ascertain all particulars. What are you 
sighing about, Jane?" 

Jane was sighing heavily. A weight seemed to have fallen upon 
her spirits. " To talk of life insurance puts me too much in mind 
of death," she murmured. 

" Now, Jane, you are never going to turn goose ! " he gaily said. 
" I have heard of persons who will not make a will, because it 
brings them a fancy that they must be going to die. Insuring my 
life will not bring death any the quicker to me : I hope I shall be 
here many a year yet. Why, Jane, I may live to pay the insurance 
over and over again in annual premiums ! Better that I had put 
by the money in a bank, I shall think then." 

" The worst of putting by money in a bank, or in any other way, 
is, that you are not compelled to put it," observed Jane, looking up 
a little from her depression. " What ought to be put by — what is 
intended to be put by — too often goes in present wants, and putting 
by ends in name only : whereas, in life insurance, the premium must 
be paid. Edgar," she added, going to a different subject, " I 
wonder what we shall make of our boys ? " 

Mr. Halliburton's cheek flushed. " They shall go to college, 
please God — though I have not been able to get there myself." 

" Oh, I hope so ! One or two of them, at any rate." 

Little difficulty did there appear to be in the plan to Mr. Halli- 
burton. His boys should enter the University, although he had 
not done so : the future of our children appears hopeful and easy to 
most of us. William and Frank were in the school attached to 
King's College : of which, you hear, Mr. Halliburton was now a 
professor. Edgar — never called anything but " Gar " — went to 
a private school, but he would soon be entered at King's College. 
Remarkably well-educated boys for their years, were the young 
Halliburtons. Mr. Halliburton and Jane had taken care of that. 
Home teaching was more efficient than the school : both combined 
had rendered them unusually intelligent and advanced. Naturally 
intellectual, gifted with excellent qualities of mind and heart, Mrs. 
Halliburton had not failed to do her duty by them. She spared 



A VISIT TO THE PHYSICIAN. 



33 



no pains ; she knew how children ought to be brought up, and she 
did her duty well. Ah, my friends ! mothers of families ! only lay 
a good foundation in their earlier years, and your children will 
grow up to bless you. 

"Jane, I wonder which office will be the best to insure in?" 

Jane began to recall the names of some that were familiar to her. 

"The Phoenix?" suggested she. 

Mr. Halliburton laughed. " I think that's only for fire, Jane. I 
am not sure, though." In truth, he knew little about insurance 
offices himself. 

" There's the Sun ; and the Atlas ; and the Argus— oh, and ever 
so many more," continued Jane. 

" I'll inquire all about it to-day," said he. 

" I wonder if the premium will take a hundred a year, Edgar?" 

He could not tell. He feared it might. " I wish Jane," he 
observed, " that I had insured my life when I first married. The 
annual premium would have been small then, and we might have 
managed to spare it." 

"Ay," she answered. " Sometimes I look back to things that I 
might have done in the past years : and I did not do them. Now, 
the time has gone by ! " 

. " Well, it has not gone by for insuring," said Mr. Halliburton, 
rising from the breakfast-table, and speaking in a gay tone. " Half- 
past eight?" he cried, looking at his watch. " Good-bye, Jane," 
said he, bending to kiss her. " Wish me luck." 

" A weighty insurance and a small premium," she said, laughing. 
" But you are not going about it now?" 

" Of course not. I should not find the offices open. I shall 
take an opportunity of doing so in the course of the day." 

Mr. Halliburton departed on his usual duties. It was a warm 
day in April. His first attendance was King's College, and there 
he remained for the morning. Then he set himself to gain informa- 
tion about the various offices and their respective merits : finally 
he fixed upon the one he should apply to, and bent his steps to it. 

It was situated in the heart of the City, in a very busy part of 
it. The office also appeared to be busy, for several people were in 
it when Mr. Halliburton entered. A young man came forward to 
know his business. 

" I wish to insure my life," said Mr. Halliburton. " How must I 
proceed about it?" 

" Oh yes, sin Mr. Procter, will you attend to this gentleman?" 

Mr. Halliburton was marshalled to an inner room, where a 
gentlemanly man received him. He explained his business in 
detail, stated his age, and the sum he wished to insure for. Every 
information was politely afforded him; and a paper, with certain 
printed questions, was given him to fill up at his leisure, and then 
to be returned. 

Mr. Halliburton glanced over it. " You require a certificate of 
my birth from the parish register where I was baptized, I perceive," 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 3 



34 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



he remarked. " Why so? In stating my age, I have stated it 
correctly." 

The gentleman smiled. "Of that I make no doubt," he said, 
"for you look younger than the age you have given me. Our 
office makes it a rule in most cases to require the certificate from 
the register. All applicants are not scrupulous about telling the 
truth, and we have been obliged to adopt it in self-defence. We 
have had cases, we have indeed, sir, where we have insured a life, 
and then found — though perhaps not until the actual death has 
taken place — that the insurer was ten years older than he asserted. 
Therefore we demand a certificate. It does occasionally happen 
that applicants can bring well-known men to testify to their age, 
and then we do not mind dispensing with it." 

Mr. Halliburton sent his thoughts round in a circle. There was 
no one in London who knew his age of their own positive know- 
ledge ; so it was useless to think of that. " There will be no 
difficulty in the matter," he said aloud. " I can get the certificate 
up from Devonshire in the course of two or three days, by writing 
for it. My father was rector of the church where I was christened. 
This will be all, then? To fill up this paper, and bring you the 
certificate." 

" All ; with the exception of being examined by our physician." 

" What ! is it necessary to be examined by a physician ? " ex- 
claimed Mr. Halliburton. " The paper states that I must hand in 
a report from my ordinary medical attendant. He will not give 
you a bad report of me," he added, smiling, " for it is little enough 
I have troubled him. I believe the worst thing he has attended 
me for has been a bad cold." 

" So much the better," remarked the gentleman. " You do not 
look very strong." 

" Very strong, I don't think I am. I am too hard worked ; get 
too little rest and recreation. It was suspecting that I am not so 
strong as I might be, that set me thinking it might be well to 
insure my life for the sake of my wife and children," he ingenu- 
ously added, in his straightforward manner. " If I could count 
upon living and working on until I am an old man, I should not 
do so." 

The gentleman smiled. " Looks are deceitful," he observed. 
" Nothing more so. Sometimes those who look the most delicate 
live the longest." 

" You cannot say I look delicate," returned Mr. Halliburton. 

" I did not say it. I consider that you do not look robust ; but, 
that is not saying that you look delicate. You may be a perfectly 
healthy man, for all I can say to the contrary." 

He ran his eyes over Mr. Halliburton as he spoke; over his tall, 
fine form, his dark hair, amidst which not a streak of grey mingled, 
his clearly-cut features, and his complexion, bright as a woman's. 
Was there suspicion in that complexion? "A handsome man, at 
any rate," thought the gazer, " if not a robust one." 



A VISIT TO THE PHYSICIAN. 



35 



"It will be necessary, then, that I see your physician?" asked 
Mr. Halliburton. 

" Yes. It cannot be dispensed with. We would not insure 
without it. He attends here twice a week. In the intervening 
days, he may be seen in Savile-row, from three to five. It is Dr. 
Carrington. His days for coming here are Mondays and 
Thursdays." 

"And this is Friday," remarked Mr. Halliburton. " I shall prob- 
ably go up to him." 

Mr. Halliburton said " Good morning," and came away with his 
paper. "It's great nonsense, my seeing this doctor!" he said to 
himself as he hastened home to dinner, which he knew he must 
have kept waiting. " But I suppose it is necessary as a general 
rule ; and of course, they won't make me an exception." 

Hurrying over his dinner, in a manner that prevented its doing 
him any good — as Jane assured him — he sat down to his desk 
when it was over, and wrote for the certificate of his birth. Folding 
and sealing the letter, he put on his hat to go out again. 

" Shall you go to Savile-row, this afternoon?" Jane inquired. 

"If I can by any possibility get my teaching over in time," he 
answered. " Young Finchley's hour is four o'clock, but I can put 
him off until the evening. I dare say I shall get up there." 

By dint of hurrying, Mr. Halliburton contrived to reach Savile- 
row, and arrived there in much heat at half-past four. There was 
no necessity for hurrying there on this particular day, but he felt 
impatient to get the business over ; as if speed now could atone for 
past neglect. Dr. Carrington was engaged, and Mr. Halliburton 
was shown into a room, Three or four others were waiting there ; 
whether ordinary patients, or whether mere applicants of form like 
himself, he could not tell ; and it was their turn to go in before it 
was his. 

But his turn came at last, and he was ushered into the presence 
of the doctor — a little man, fair, and reserved, with powder on his 
head. 

Reserved in ordinary intercourse, but certainly not reserved in 
asking questions. Mr. Halliburton had never been so rigidly 
questioned before. What disorders had he had, and what had he 
not had? W T hat were his habits, past and present? One question 
came at last : "Do you feel thoroughly strong ? — healthy, elastic?" 

" I feel languid in hot weather," replied Mr. Halliburton 

" Urn ! Appetite sound and good?" 

" Generally speaking. It has not been so good of late." 

" Breathing all right ? " 

" Yes. It is a little tight sometimes." 

" Um ! Subject to a cough ? " 

"I have no settled cough. A sort of hacking cough comes on at 
night occasionally. I attribute it to fatigue." 

" Um ! Will you open your shirt ? Just unbutton it here " — 
touching the front — " and your flannel waistcoat, if you wear one." 



36 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Mr. Halliburton bared his chest in obedience, and the doctor 
sounded it, and then he put down his ear. Apparently his ear did 
not serve him sufficiently, for he took some small instrument out of 
a drawer, placed it on the chest, and then put his ear to that, 
changing the position of the instrument three or four times. 

" That will do," he said at length. 

He turned to put up his instrument again, and Mr. Halliburton 
drew the edges of his shirt together, and buttoned them. 

" Why don't you wear flannel waistcoats ? " asked the doctor, 
with quite a sharp accent, his head down in the drawer. 

" 1 do wear them in winter ; but in warm weather I leave them 
off. It was only last week that I discarded them." 

" Was ever such folly known ! " ejaculated Dr. Carrington. " One 
would think people were born without common sense. Half the 
patients who come to me say they leave off their flannels in summer ! 
Why, it is in summer that they are most needed ! And this warm 
weather won't last either. Go home, sir, and put one on at once." 

" Certainly, if you think it right," said Mr. Halliburton with a 
smile. " I thank you for telling me." 

He took up his hat and waited. The doctor appeared to wait 
for him to go. " I understood at the office that you would give me 
a paper, testifying that you had examined me," explained Mr. 
Halliburton. 

" Ah — but I can't give it," said the doctor. 

" Why not, sir ? " 

" Because I am not satisfied with you. I cannot recommend you 
as a healthy life." 

Mr. Halliburton's pulses quickened a little. " Sir ! " he repeated. 
" Not a healthy life ? " 

" Not sufficiently healthy for insurance." 

" Why ! what is the matter with me ? " he rejoined. 

Dr. Carrington looked him full in the face for the space of a 
minute before replying. " I have had that question asked me 
before, by parties whom I have felt obliged to decline, as I am now 
declining you," he said, " and my answer has not always been 
palatable to them." 

" It will be palatable to me, sir; in so far as that I desire to be 
made acquainted with the truth. What do you find amiss with me?" 

" The lungs are diseased." 

A chill fell over Mr. Halliburton. " Not extensively, I trust ? 
Not beyond hope of recovery?" 

" Were I to say not extensively, I should be deceiving you ; and 
you tell me that you wish for the truth. They are extensively 
diseased " 

A mortal pallor overspread Mr. Halliburton's face, and he sank 
into a chair. " Not for myself," he gasped, as Dr. Carrington drew 
nearer to him. " I have a wife and children. If I die, they will want 
bread to eat." 

" But you did not hear me out," returned the physician, proceeding 



LATER IN THE DAY. 



37 



with equanimity, as if he had not been interrupted. "They are 
extensively diseased, but not beyond a hope of recovery. I do not 
say it is a strong hope ; but a hope there is, as I Judge, provided 
you use the right means, and take care of yourself." 

" What am I to do ? " What are the means ? " 

" You live, I presume, in this stifling, foggy, smoky London." 

" Yes." 

" Then get away from it. Go where you can have pure air and a 
clear atmosphere. That's the first and chief thing ; and that's most 
essential. Not for a few weeks or months, you understand me — 
going out for a change of air, as people call it — you must leave 
London entirely ; go away altogether." 

"But it will be impossible," urged Mr. Halliburton. " My work 
lies in London." 

" Ah ! " said the doctor, " too many have been with me with whom 
it was the same case. But, I assure you that you must leave it ; 
or it will be London versus life. You appear to me to be one who 
never ought to have come to London — — You were not born in 
it ? " he abruptly added. 

" I never saw it until I was eighteen. I was born and reared in 
Devonshire." 

" Just so. I knew it. Those born and reared in London become 
acclimatized to it, generally speaking, and it does not hurt them. 
It does not hurt numbers who are strangers : they find London as 
healthy a spot for them as any on the face of the globe. But there 
are a few who cannot and ought not to live in London ; and I judge 
you to be one of them." 

" Has this state of disease been coming on long ? " 

"Yes, for some years. Had you remained in Devonshire, you 
might have been a sound man all your life. My only advice to you 
is — get away from London. You cannot live long if you remain 
in it." 

Mr. Halliburton thanked the physician and went out. How 
things had changed for him ! What had gone with the day's 
beauty ? — with the blue sky, the bright sun ? The sky was blue 
still, and the sun shining ; but darkness seemed to intervene between 
his eyes and outward things. Dying ? A shiver went through him 
as he thought of Jane and the children, and a sick feeling of despair 
settled on his spirit. 



CHAPTER VII. 

LATER IN THE DAY, 

The man was utterly prostrated. He felt that the fiat of death had 
gone forth, and there settled an undercurrent of conviction in his 
mind, that, for him, there would be no recovery, take what precau- 



33 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES, 



tion he would. He could not shake it off — nay, he did not try to 
shake it off. There lay the fact and the fear, as a leaden weight. 

He bent his steps towards home, walking the whole way; he 
moved along the streets mechanically. The crowds passed and 
repassed him, but he seemed far away. Once or twice he lifted his 
head to them with a yearning gesture. " Oh ! that I were like you ! 
bent on business, on pleasure, on social intercourse ! " passed through 
his mind. " I am not as you ; and for me you can do nothing. You 
cannot give me health ; you cannot give me life." 

He entered his home, and was conscious of merry voices and 
flitting footsteps. A little scene of gaiety was going on : he knew 
of this, but had forgotten it until that instant. It was the birthday 
of his little girl, and a few young friends had been invited to make 
merry. Jane, looking almost as young, quite as pretty, as when she 
married him, sat at the far end of their largest room before a well- 
spread tea-table. She wore festival attire. A dress of pearl-grey 
watered silk, and a thin gold chain round her neck. The little girls 
were chiefly in white, and the boys were on their best behaviour. 
Jane was telling them that tea was ready, and her two servants were 
helping to place the little people, and to wait upon them. 

" Oh, and here's papa, too ! just in time," she cried, lifting her 
eyes gladly at her husband. " That is delightful! " 

Mr. Halliburton welcomed the children. He kissed some, he 
talked to others, just as if he had not that terrible vulture, care, 
within him. They saw nothing amiss ; neither did Jane. He took 
his seat, and drank his tea ; all, as it were, mechanically. It did 
not seem to be himself ; he thought it must be some one else. In 
the last hour, his whole identity appeared to have changed. Bread 
and butter was handed to him. He took a slice, and left it. Jane 
put some cake on to his plate : he left that also. Eat ! with that 
awful fiat racking his senses ! No, it was not possible. 

He looked round on his children. His. William, a gentle boy, 
with his mother's calm, good face, and her earnest eyes; Jane, a 
lovely child, with fair curls flowing, and a bright colour, consciously 
vain this evening in her white birthday robes and her white ribbons ; 
Frank, a slim, dark-eyed boy, always in mischief, his features hand- 
some and clearly cut as were his father's ; Gar, a delicate little chap, 
with fair curls like his sister Jane's. Must he leave these children ? 
— abandon them to the mercies of a cold and cruel world? — bequeath 
them no place in it ; no means of support ? " Oh, God ! Oh, God ! * 
broke from his bitter heart, " if it be Thy will to take me, mayst 
Thou shelter them ! " 

" Edgar!" 

He started palpably ; so far in thought was he away. Yet it was 
only his wife who spoke to him. 

" Edgar, have you been up to Dr. Carrington's ? " she whispered, 
bending towards him. 

In his confusion he muttered some unintelligible words, which she 
interpreted into a denial ; there was a great deal of buzzing just then 



LATER IN THE DAY. 



39 



from the young voices around. Two of the gentlemen, Frank being 
one, were in hot contention touching a third gentleman's rabbits. 
Mrs. Halliburton called Frank to order, and said no more to her 
husband for the present. 

" We are to dance after tea," said Jane. " I have been learning 
one quadrille to play. It is very easy, and mamma says I play it 
very well." 

" Oh, we don't want dancing," grumbled one of the boys. " We'd 
rather have blindman's-buff." 

Opinions were divided again. The girls wanted dancing, the 
boys blindman's-buff. Mrs. Halliburton was appealed to. 

" I think it must be dancing first, and blindman's-buff afterwards," ' 
said she. 

Tea over, the furniture was pushed aside, to make a clear space for 
the dancers. Mr. Halliburton, his back against the wall, stood 
looking at them. Looking at them, as was supposed; but, had 
they been keen observers, they would have known that his eyes in 
reality saw not : they, like his thoughts, were far away. 

His wife did presently notice that he seemed particularly 
abstracted. She came up to him; he was standing with his arms 
folded, his head bent. " Edgar, are you well ? " 

"Well? Oh yes, dear," he replied, making an effort to rouse 
himself. 

" I hope you have no more teaching to-night ? " 
" I ought to go to young Finchley. I put him off until seven 
o'clock." 

" Then " — was her quick rejoinder — " if you put off young Finch- 
ley, how was it you could not get to Savile-row ? " 

" I have been occupied all the afternoon, Jane," he said. Wanting 
the courage to say how the matter really stood, he evaded the question. 

But, to go to young Finchley, or to any other pupil that night, 
Mr. Halliburton felt himself physically unequal. Teach ! Explain 
abstruse Greek and Latin rules, with his mind in its present state! 
It seemed to him that it little mattered — if he was to be taken 
from them so soon — whether he ever taught again. He was in the 
very depths of depression ! 

Suddenly, as he stood looking on, a thought came flashing over 
him as a ray of light. As a ray of light? Nay, as a whole flood 
of it. What if Dr. Carrington were wrong ? — if it should prove 
that, in reality, nothing was the matter with him? Doctors — and 
very clever ones — were, he knew, sometimes mistaken. Perhaps Dr. 
Carrington had been ! 

It was scarcely likely, he went on to reason, that a mortal disease 
should be upon him, and he have lived in ignorance of it ! Why, 
he seemed to have had very little the matter with him ; nothing 
to talk of, nothing to lie up for, comparatively speaking, he had 
been a healthy man — was in health then. Yes, the belief did pre- 
sent itself, that Dr. Carrington was deceived. He, in the interests 
of the insurance office, might be unnecessarily cautious. 



4o MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Mr. Halliburton left the wall, and grew cheerful and gay, and 
talked freely to the children. One little lady asked if he would 
dance with her. He laughed, and felt half inclined to do so. 

Which was the true mood— that sombre one, or this? Was there 
nothing false about this one — was there no secret consciousness 
that it did not accord with the actual belief of his mind ; that he 
was only forcing it? Be it as it would, it did not last ; in the very 
middle of a laughing sentence to his own little Janey, the old agony, 
the fear, returned — returned with terrific violence, as a torrent that 
has burst its bounds. 

" I cannot bear this uncertainty ! " he murmured to himself. And 
he went out of the room and took up his hat. Mrs. Halliburton, 
who at that moment happened to be crossing from another room, 
saw him open the hall-door. 

" Are you going to young Finchley, Edgar?" 

"No. I shall give him holiday for to-night. I shall be in soon, 
Jane." 

He went straight to their own family doctor ; a Mr. Allen, who 
lived close by. They were personal friends. 

To the inquiry as to whether Mr. Allen was at home, the servant 
was about to usher him into the family sitting-room, but Mr. Halli- 
burton stepped into the dusky surgery. He was in no mood for 
ladies' company. " I will wait here," he said. " Tell your master 
I wish to say a word to him." 

The surgeon came immediately, a lighted candle in his hand. 
He was a dark man with a thin face. " Why won't you come in? " 
he asked. "There's only Mrs. Allen and the girls there. Is any- 
thing the matter? " 

"Yes, Allen, something is the matter," was Mr. Halliburton's 
reply. " I want a friend to-night : one who will deal with me 
candidly and openly : and I have come to you. Sit down." 

They both sat down ; and Mr. Halliburton gave him the history 
of the past four and twenty hours : commencing with the fainting- 
fit, and ending with his racking doubts as to whether Dr. Car- 
rington's opinion was borne out by facts, or whether he might have 
been deceived. "Allen," he concluded, "you must see what you 
can make out of my state : and you must report to me without dis- 
guise, as you would report to your own soul." 

The surgeon looked grave. " Carrington is a clever man," he 
said. " One whom it would be difficult to deceive." 

" I know his reputation. But these clever men are not infallible. 
Put his opinion out of your mind : examine me yourself, and tell me 
what you think." 

Mr. Allen proceeded to do so. He first of all asked Mr. Halli- 
burton a few general questions as to his present state of health, as 
he would have done by any other patient, and then he sounded his 
lungs. 

" Now then— the truth," said Mr. Halliburton. 
" The truth is — so far as I can judge— that you are in no present 
danger whatever," 



LATER IN THE DAY. 



41 



"Neither did Dr. Carrington say I was — in present danger,'* 
9 hastily replied Mr. Halliburton. "Are my lungs sound?" 

u They are not sound : but neither do I think they are extensively 
diseased. You may live for many years, with care.' , 
"Would any insurance office take me? " 
" No. I do not think it would." 
" It is just my death-knell, Allen." 

"If you look at it in that light, I shall be very sorry to have 
given you my opinion," observed the surgeon. " I repeat that, by 
taking care of yourself, you may stave off disease, and live many 
years. I would not say this unless I thought it." 

" And, would your opinion be the same as the doctor's — that I 
must leave London for the country?" 

" I think you would have a far better chance of getting well in 
the country than you have here. You have told me over and over 
again, you know, that you were sure London air was bad for you." 

" Ay, I have," replied Mr. Halliburton. " I never have felt quite 
well in it, and that's the truth. Well, I must see what can be done. 
Good evening." 

If the edict did not appear to be so irrevocably dark as that of 
Dr. Carrington, it was yet dark enough; and Mr. Halliburton, 
striving to look it full in the face, as he was in the habit of doing 
by troubles less grave, endeavoured to set himself to think " what 
could be done." There was no possible chance of keeping it from 
his wife. If it was really necessary that their place of residence 
should be changed, she must be taken into counsel ; and the sooner 
she was told the better. He went home, resolved to tell her before 
he slept. 

The little troop departed, the children in bed, they sat together 
over the fire : though the weather had become warm, an evening 
fire was pleasant still. He sat nervous and fidgety. Now the 
moment had arrived, he shrunk from his task. 

" Edgar, I am sure you are not well ! " she exclaimed. " I have 
observed it all the evening." 

" Yes, Jane, I am well. Pretty well, that is. The truth is, my 
darling, I have some bad news for you, and I don't like to tell it." 

Her own family were safe and well under her roof, and her fears 
flew to Francis, to Margaret, to Robert. Mr. Halliburton stopped 
her. 

" It does not concern any of them, Jane. It is about myself." 
" But what can it be, about yourself? " 

" They — will — not Will you listen to the news with a brave 

heart?" he broke off to ask, with a smile, and the most cheering 
look he could call up to his face. 

" Oh yes." She smiled too. She thought it could be nothing 
very bad. 

" They will not insure my life, Jane." 
Her heart stood still. " But why not? " 

" They consider it too great a risk. They fancy I am not strong." 



42 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



A sudden flush to her face ; a moment's stillness ; and then Jane 
Halliburton clasped her hands with a faint cry of despair. She 
saw that more remained behind. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

SUSPENSE. 

Mrs. Halliburton sat in her chair, still enougn, except for the 
wailing cry which had just escaped her lips. Her husband would 
not look at her in that moment. His gaze was bent on the fire, 
and his cheek lay in his hand. As she cried out, he stretched forth 
his other hand and let it fall lightly upon hers. 

" Jane, had I thought you would look at the dark side of the 
picture, I should have hesitated to tell you. Why, my dear child, 
the very fact of my telling you at all, should convince you that 
there's nothing very serious the matter," he added, in a cheering 
tone of reasoning. Now that he had spoken, he deemed it well to 
make the very best he could of it. 

" You say they will not insure your life ?" 

"Well, Jane, perhaps that expression was not a correct one. 
They have not declined as yet to do so ; but Dr. Carrington says 
he cannot give the necessary certificate as to my being a thoroughly 
sound and healthy man." 

" Then you did go up to Dr. Carrington ? " 

" I did. Forgive me, Jane : I could not enter upon it before all 
the children." 

She leaned over and laid her head upon his shoulder. " Tell me 
all about it, Edgar," she whispered ; " as much as you know your- 
self." 

" I have told you nearly all, Jane. I saw Dr. Carrington, and he 
asked me a great many questions, and examined me here " — touch- 
ing his chest. " He fancies the organs are not sound, and declined 
giving the certificate." 

" That your chest is not sound? " asked Jane. 

" He said the lungs." 

" Ah ! 11 she uttered. " What else did he say ? " 

" Well, he said nothing about heart, or liver, or any other vital 
part so I conclude they are all right, and that there was nothing 
to say," replied Mr. Halliburton, attempting to be cheerful. u 1 
could have told him my brain was strong enough, had he asked 
about that, for I'm sure it gets its full share of work. I need not 
have mentioned this to you at all, Jane, but for a perplexing bit of 
advice that the doctor gave me." 

Jane sat straight in her chair again, and looked at Mr. Halli- 
burton. The colour was beginning to return to her face. He con- 
tinued : 



SUSPENSE. 



43 



"Dr. Carrington earnestly recommends me to remove from 
London. Indeed — he said — that it was necessary — if I would get 
well. No wonder that you found my manner absent," he continued 
very rapidly after his hesitation, " with that unpalatable counsel to 
digest." 

" Did he think you very ill?" she breathed. 

"He did not say I was ' very ill,' Jane. I am not very ill, as 
you may see for yourself. My dear, what he said was, that my 
lungs were — were " 

" Diseased? " she put in. 

" Diseased. Yes, that was it," he truthfully replied. " It is the 
term that medical men apply when they wish to indicate delicacy. 
And he strenuously recommended me to leave London." 

" For how long? Did he say? " 

" He said for good." 

Jane felt startled. " How could it be done, Edgar?" 

"In truth I do not know. If I leave London I leave my living 
behind me. Now you see why I was so absorbed at tea-time. 
When you saw me go out, I was going round to Allen's." 

" And what does he say ? " she eagerly interrupted. 

" Oh, he seems to think, it a mere nothing, compared with Dr. 
Carrington. He agreed with him on one point — that I ought to 
live out of London." 

" Edgar, I will tell you what I think must be done," said Jane, 
after a pause. " I have not had time to reflect much upon it : but 
it strikes me that it would be advisable for you to see another doctor, 
and take his opinion : some man who is clever in affections of the 
lungs. Go to him to-morrow, without any delay. Should he say 
that you must leave London, of course we must leave it, no matter 
what the sacrifice." 

The advice corresponded with Mr. Halliburton's own opinion, and 
he resolved to follow it. A conviction, amounting to a certainty, was 
upon him, that, go to what doctor he might, the fiat would be the 
same as Dr. Carrington's. He did not say so to Jane. On the 
contrary, he spoke of these insurance-office doctors as being over- 
fastidious in the interests of the office ; and he tried to deceive his 
own heart with the sophistry. 

" Shall you apply to another office to insure your life ? " Jane 
asked. 

" I would, if I thought it would not be useless." 
" You think it would be useless ? " 

" The offices all keep their own doctors, and those doctors, it is 
my belief, are unnecessarily particular. I should call them crotchety, 
Jane." 

" I think it must amount to this," said Jane ; " that if there is 
anything seriously the matter with you, no office will be found to 
do it ; but, if the affection is only trifling or temporary, you may 
be accepted." 

" That is about it. Oh, Jane! " he added, with an irrepressible 



44 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



burst of anguish, " what would I not give to have insured my life 
before this came upon me ! All those past years ! they seem to have 
been allowed to run to waste, when I might have been using them 
to lay up in store for the children ! " 

How many are there of us who, looking back, can feel that our 
past years, in some way or other, have not been allowed to run to 
waste ? 

What a sleepless night that was for him ! what a sleepless night 
for his wife ! Both rose in the morning equally unrefreshed. 

" To what doctor will you go ? " Jane inquired of him as she was 
dressing. 

" I have been thinking of Dr. Arnold of Finsbury," he replied. 

" Yes, you could not go to a better. Edgar, you will let me 
accompany you ? " 

" No, no, Jane. Your accompanying me would do no good. You 
could not go into the room with me." 

She saw the force of the objection. " I shall be so very anxious," 
she said, in a low tone. 

He laughed at her: he was willing to make light of it if it might 
ease her fears. " My dear, I will come home at once and report to 
you : I will borrow Jack's seven-leagued boots, that I may come 
to you the quicker.'* 

" You know that I shall be anxious," she repeated, feeling vexed. 

"Jane. 9 he said, his tone changing: "I see that you are more 
anxious already than is good for you. It is not well that you should 
be so." 

" I wish I could be with you ! I wish I could hear, as you will, 
Dr. Arnold's opinion from his own lips ! " was all she answered. 

" I will faithfully repeat it to you," said Mr, Halliburton. 

" Faithfully ? — word for word ? On your honour ? " 

"Yes, Jane, I will. You have my promise. Good news I shall 
only be too glad to tell you ; and, should it be the worst, it will be 
necessary that you should know it." 

" You must be there before ten o'clock," she observed ; " otherwise 
there will be little chance of seeing him." 

"I shall be there by nine, Jane. To spare time later would 
interfere too much with my day's work." 

A thought crossed Jane's mind — if the fiat were unfavourable, 
what would become of his day's work then — all his days ? " But she 
did not utter it. 

" Oh, papa," cried Janey at breakfast, " was it not a beautiful 
party ! Did you ever enjoy yourself so much before ? " 

" I don't suppose you ever did, Taney," he replied, in a kind tone. 

" No, that 1 never did. Alice Harvey's birthday comes in summer, 
and she says she knows her mamma will let her give just such 
another. Mamma! " — turning round to Mrs. Halliburton. 

"Well, Jane?" 

" Shall you let me have a new frock for it ? You know I tore mine 
last night." 



SUSPENSE. 



45 



"All in good time, Janey. We don't know where We may all be 
then." 

No, they did not. A foreshadowing of it was already upon the 
spirit of Mrs. Halliburton. Not upon the children : they were spared 
it as yet. 

" Do not be surprised if you see me waiting for you when you 
come out of Dr. Arnold's," said Jane to her husband, in a low tone, 
as he was going out. 

" But, Jane, why? Indeed, I think it would be foolish of you to 
come. My dear, I never knew you like this before." 

Perhaps not. But when, before, had there been cause for this 
apprehension ? 

Jane watched him depart. Calm as she contrived to remain out- 
wardly, she was in a terribly restless, nervous state ; little accustomed, 
as she was, so to give way. A sick feeling was within her, a miserable 
sensation of suspense ; and she could scarcely battle with it. You 
may have felt the same, in the dread approach of some great calamity. 
The reading over, Janey got her books about, as usual. Mrs. Halli- 
burton took charge of her education in every branch, except music : 
for that, she had a master. She would not send Jane to school. 
The child sat down to her books, and was surprised at seeing her 
mother come into the room with her things on. 

" Mamma ! Are you going out ? " 

" For a little while, Jane." 

" Oh, let me go ! let me go, too ! " 

" Not this morning, dear. You will have plenty of work — pre- 
paring the lessons that you could not prepare last night." 

" So I shall," said Janey. " I thought perhaps you meant to 
excuse them, mamma." 

It was almost impossible for Jane to remain in the house, in her 
present state of agitation. She knew that it did appear absurdly 
foolish to go after her husband ; but, walk somewhere she must : how 
could she turn a different way from that which he had gone ? It 
was some distance to Finsbury ; half an hour's walk, at least. Should 
she go, or should she not, she asked herself as she went out of the 
house. She began to think that she might have remained at home, 
had she exercised self-control. She had a great mind to turn back, 
and was slackening her pace, when she caught sight of Mr. Allen at 
his surgery window. 

An impulse came over her that she would go in and ask his opinion 
of her husband. She opened the door and entered. The surgeon 
was making up some pills. 

" You are abroad early, Mrs. Halliburton ! " 

"Yes," she replied. "Mr. Halliburton has gone to Finsbury 

Square, to see Dr. Arnold, and I Do you think him very ill ? n 

she abruptly broke off. 

" I do not, myself. Carrington— — Did you know he had been 
to Dr. Carrington ? " asked Mr. Allen, almost fearing he might be 
betraying secrets. 



46 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" I know all about it. I know what the doctor said. Do you think 
Dr. Carrington was mistaken ? " 

"In a measure. There's no doubt the lungs are affected, but I 
believe not to the grave extent assumed by Dr. Carrington." 

"He assumed, then, that they were affected to a grave extent?" 
she hastily repeated, her heart beating faster. 

" I thought you said you knew all about it, Mrs. Halliburton?" 

" So I do. He may possibly not have told me the very worst said 
by Dr. Carrington; but he told me quite sufficient. Mr. Allen, you 
tell me — do you think that there is a chance of his recovery ? " 

" Most certainly I do," warmly replied the surgeon. " Every 
chance, Mrs. Halliburton. I see no reason whatever why he should 
not keep as well as he is now, and live for years, provided he takes 
care of himself. It appears that Dr. Carrington very strongly urged 
his removing into the country ; he went so far as to say that it was 
his only chance for life — and in that I think he went too far again. 
But the country would undoubtedly do for him what London will 
not." 

" You think that he ought to remove to the country ? " she 
inquired, giving no token of the terror those incautious words 
brought her — " his only chance for life." 

" I do. If it be possible for him to manage his affairs so as to get 
away, I should say, let him do so by all means." 

" It must be done, you know, Mr. Allen, if it be essential." 

" In my judgment, it should be done. Many and many a time I 
have said to him myself, 'It's a pity but that you could be away 
from this heavy London ! ' Fogs affect him, and smoke affects him 
■ — the air altogether affects him : and I only wonder it has not told 
upon him before. As Dr. Carrington observed to him, there are 
some constitutions which somehow will not thrive here." 

Mrs. Halliburton rose with a sigh. " I am glad you do not think 
so very seriously of him," she breathed. 

" I do not think seriously of him at all," was the surgeon's answer. 
" I confess that he is not strong, and that he must have care. The 
pure air of the country, and relaxation from some of his most press- 
ing work, may do wonders for him. If I might advise, I should say, 
Let no pecuniary considerations keep him here. And that is very 
disinterested advice, Mrs. Halliburton," concluded the doctor, 
laughing, "for, in losing you, I should lose both friends and 
patients." 

Jane went out. Those ominous words were still ringing in her 
ears — " his only chance for life." 

She forced herself to self-control, and did ?iot go to meet Mr. 
Halliburton. She returned home and took off her things, and gave 
what attention she could to Jane's lessons. But none can tell the 
suspense that was agitating her : the ever-restless glances she cast 
to the window, to see him pass. By-and-by she went and stood 
there. 

At last she saw him coming along in the distance. She would 



SUSPENSE. 



47 



have liked to fly to meet him — to say, What is the news ? but she 
did not. More patience, and then, when he came in at the front 
door, she left the room she was in, and went with him into the 
drawing-room, her face white as death. 

He saw how agitated she was, strive as she would for calmness. 
He stood looking at her with a smile. 

" Well, Jane, it is not so very formidable, after all." 

Her face grew hot, and her heart bounded on. " What does Dr. 
Arnold say ? You know, Edgar, you promised me the truth without 
disguise." 

" You shall have it, Jane. Dr. Arnold's opinion of me is not 
unfavourable. That the lungs are to a certain extent affected, is 
indisputable, and he thinks they have been so for some time. But 
he sees nothing to indicate present danger to life. He believes that 
I may grow into an old man yet." 

Jane breathed freely. A word of earnest thanks went up from 
her heart. 

" With proper diet— he has given me certain rules for living — 
and pure air and sunshine, he considers that I have really little to 
fear. I told you, Jane, those insurance doctors make the worst of 
things." 

" Dr. Arnold, then, recommends the country ? 8 observed Jane, 
paying no attention to the last remark. 

" Very strongly. Almost as strongly as Dr. Carrington." 

Jane lifted her eyes to her husband's face. " Dr. Carrington said, 
you know, that it was your only chance of life." 

" Not quite as bad as that, Jane," he returned, never supposing 
but that he must himself have let the remark slip, and wondering 
how he came to do so. " What Dr. Carrington said was, that it was 
London versus life." 

" It is the same thing, Edgar. And now, what is to be done ? 
Of course we have no alternative ; into the country we must go. 
The question is, where ? " 

" Ay, that is the question," he answered. " Not only where, but 
what to do ? I cannot drop down into a fresh place, and expect 
teaching to surround me at once, as if it had been waiting for me. 
But I have not time to talk now. Only fancv ' it is half-past ten." 

Mr. Halliburton went out, and Jane remained, fastened as it were 
to her chair. A hundred perplexing plans and schemes were already 
working in her brain. 



48 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



CHAPTER IX. 

LOOKING OUT FOR A HOME. 

Plans and schemes continued to work in Mrs. Halliburton's brain 
for days and days to come. Many and many an anxious consulta- 
tion did she and her husband hold together — where should they go ? 
what should they do ? That it was necessary to do something, and 
speedily, events proved, independently of what had been said by the 
doctors. Before another month had passed over his head, Mr. 
Halliburton had become so much worse that he had to resign his 
post at King's College. But, to the hopeful minds of himself and 
Jane, the country change was to bring its remedy for all ills. They 
had grown to anticipate it with enthusiasm. 

His thoughts naturally ran upon teaching, as his continued occu- 
pation. He knew nothing of any other. All England was before 
him ; and he supposed he might obtain a living at it, wherever he 
might go. Such testimonials as his were not met with every day. 
His cousin Julia was married to a man of some local influence (as 
Mr. Halliburton had understood) in the city in which they resided, 
the chief town of one of the midland counties ; and a thought crossed 
his mind more than once, whether it might not be well to choose 
that same town to settle in. 

" They might be able to recommend me, you see, Jane," he 
observed to his wife, one evening that they were sitting together, 
after the children were in bed. " Not that I should much like to 
ask any favour of Julia." 

" Why not ? " said Jane. 

"Because she is not a pleasant person to ask a favour of: it is 
many years since I saw her, but I well remember that. Another 
reason why I feel inclined to that place is, that it is a cathedral 
town. Cathedral towns have many of the higher order of the clergy 
in them ; learning is sure to be considered there, should it not be 
anywhere else. Consequently there would be an opening for classical 
teaching." 

Jane thought the argument had weight. 

"And there's yet another thing," continued Mr. Halliburton. 
" You remember Peach ? " 

" Peach ? — Peach ? " repeated Jane, as if unable to recall the 
name. 

" The young fellow that I had so much trouble with, a few years 
ago — drilling him between his terms at Oxford. But for me, he 
never would have passed either his great or his little go. He did 
get plucked the first time he went up. You must remember him, 
Jane : he has often taken tea with us here." 

" Oh, yes — yes ! I remember him now. Charley Peach." 



LOOKING OUT FOR A HOME. 



49 



"Well, he has recently been appointed to a minor canonry in 
that same cathedral," resumed Mr. Halliburton. " Dr. Jacobs told 
me of it the other day. Now, I am quite sure that Peach would be 
delighted to say a word for me, or to put anything in my way. That 
is another reason why I am inclined to go there." 

" I suppose the town is a healthy one ? " 

" Ay, that it is ; and it is seated in one of the most charming ol 
our counties. There'll be no London fogs or smoke there." 
" Then, Edgar, let us decide upon it." 

" Yes, I think so — unless we should hear of an opening elsewhere 
that may promise better. We must be away by Midsummer, if we 
can, or soon after it. It will be sharp work, though." 

" What trouble it will be to pack the furniture ! " she exclaimed. 

" Pack what furniture, Jane ? We must sell the furniture." 

" Sell the furniture ! " she uttered, aghast. 

" My dear, it would never do to take the furniture. It would 
cost almost as much as it is worth. There's no knowing, either, 
how long it might be upon the road, or what damage it might receive. 
I expect it would have to go principally by water." 

" By water! " cried Mrs. Halliburton. 

" I fancy so — by barge, I mean. Waggons would not take it, 
except by paying heavily. A great deal of the country traffic is 
done by water. This furniture is old, Jane, most of it, and will not 
bear the knocking about of rough travelling. Consider how many 
years your father and mother had it in use." 

"Then what should we do for furniture when we get there?" 
asked Jane. 

" Buy new with the money we receive from the sale of this. I 
have been reflecting upon it a good deal, Jane, and I fancy it will 
be the better plan. However, if you care for this old furniture, we 
must take it." 

Jane looked round upon it. She did care for the time-used furni- 
ture ; but she knew how old it was, and was willing to do whatever 
might be best. A vision came into her mind ot fresh, bright 
furniture, and it looked pleasant in imagination. "It would cer- 
tainly be a great deal to pack and carry," she acknowledged. " And 
some of it is not worth it." 

" And it would be more than we should want," resumed Mr. 
Halliburton. " Wherever we go, we must be content with a small 
house ; at any rate, at first. But it will be time enough to go into 
these details, Jane, when we have finally decided upon our destination." 

" Oh, Edgar ! I shall be so sorry to take the boys from King's 
College." 

" Jane," he said, a flash of pain crossing his face as he spoke, 
" there are so many things connected with it altogether that cause 
me sorrow, that my only resource is not to think upon them, I 
might be tempted to repine — to ask in a spirit of rebellion why this 
affliction should have come upon us. It is God's decree, and it is 
my duty to submit as patiently as I can." 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 4 # 



5o 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



It was her duty also : and she knew it as she laid her hand upon 
her weary brow. A weary, weary brow from henceforth, that of 
Jane Halliburton ! 



CHAPTER X. 

A DYING BED. 

In a handsome chamber of a handsome house in Birmingham, an 
old man lay dying. For most of his life he had been engaged in a 
large wholesale business — had achieved local position, had accumu- 
lated moderate wealth. But neither wealth nor position can ensure 
peace to a death-bed ; and the old man lay on his, groaning over 
the past. 

The season was that of mid-winter. Not the winter following 
the intended removal of Mr. Halliburton from London, as spoken 
of in the last chapter, but the winter preceding it — for it is necessary 
to go back a little. A hard, sharp, white day in January ; and the 
fire was piled high in the sick chamber, and the large flakes of snow 
piled themselves outside on the window frames and beat against the 
glass. The room was fitted up with every comfort that the most 
fastidious invalid could desire ; and yet, I say, nothing seemed to 
bring comfort to the invalid lying there. His hands were clenched 
as in mortal agony ; his eyes were apparently watching the falling 
snow. The eyes saw it not : in reality they were cast back to where 
his mind was— the past. 

What could be troubling him ? Was it that loss, only two years 
ago, by which one-half of his savings had been engulfed ? Scarcely. 
A man dying — as he knew he was — would be unlikely to care about 
that now. Ample competence had remained to him, and he had 
neither son nor daughter to inherit. Hark ! what is it that he is 
murmuring between his parched lips, to the accompaniment of his 
clenched hands ? 

" I see it all now ; I see it all ! While we are buoyed up with 
health and strength, we continue hard, selfish, obstinate in our 
wickedness. But when death comes, we awake to our error ; and 
death has come to me, and I have awakened to mine. Why did I 
turn him out like a dog ? He had neither kith nor kin, and I sent 
him adrift on the world, to fight with it, or to starve! He was 
the only child of my sister, and she was gone. She and I were of 
the same father and mother ; we shared the same meals in child- 
hood, the same home, the same play, the same hopes. She wrote 
to me when she was dying, as I am dying now : ' Richard, should 
my poor boy be left fatherless — for my husband's health seems to 
be failing — be his friend and protector for Helen's sake, and may 
Heaven bless you for it ! ' And I scoffed at the injunction when 



A DYING BED. 



52 



the boy offended me, and turned him out. Shall I have io answer 
for it?" 

The last anxious doubt was uttered more audibly than the rest ; 
it escaped from his lips with a groan. A woman who was dozing 
over the fire, started up. 

66 Did you call, sir ? " 

" No. Go out and leave me." 

" But— " 

" Go out and leave me," he repeated, with anger little fitted to his 
position. And the woman was speeding from the room, when he 
caught at the curtain, and recalled her. 

" Are they not come ? " 

" Not yet, sir. But, with this heavy fall, it's not to be wondered 
at. The highways must be almost impassable. With good roads 
they might have been here hours ago." 

She went out. He lay back on his pillow : his eyes wide open, 
but wearing the same dreamy look. You may be wondering who 
he is ; though you probably guess, for you have heard of him 
once before as Mr. Cooper, the uncle who discarded Edgar 
Halliburton. 

I must give you a few words of retrospect. Richard Cooper 
was the eldest of three children ; the others were a brother and 
a sister : Richard, Alfred, and Helen. Alfred and ' Helen both 
married ; Richard never did marry. It was somewhat singular that 
the brother and sister should both die, each leaving an orphan; 
and that the orphans should find a home in the house of their 
uncle, Richard. Julia Cooper, the brother's orphan, was the first 
to come to it, a long time before Edgar Halliburton came. Helen 
had married the Rev. William Halliburton, and she died at his 
rectory in Devonshire — sending that earnest prayer to her brother 
Richard which you have just heard him utter. A little while, and 
her husband, the rector, was also dead ; and then it was that Edgar 
went up to his Uncle Richard's. Fortunate for these two orphan 
children, it appeared to be, that their uncle had not married, and 
could give them a good home. 

A good home he did give them. Julia left it first, to become 
the wife of Anthony Dare, a solicitor in large practice in a distant 
city. She married him very soon after her cousin Edgar came to 
his uncle's. And it was after the marriage of Julia, that Edgar 
was discarded and turned adrift. Years, many years, had gone by 
since then; and here lay Richard Cooper, stricken for death and 
repenting of the harshness, which he had not repented of, or sought 
to atone for, all through those long years. Ah, my friends ! what- 
soever there may lie upon our consciences, however we may have 
contrived to ignore it during our busy lives, be assured that it will 
find us out on our death-bed ! 

Richard Cooper lay back on his pillow, his eyes wide open with 
their inward tribulation. "Who knows but there would be time 
yet?" he suddenly murmured. And the thought appeared to rouse 



52 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



his mind and flush his cheek, and he lifted his hand and grasped 
the bell-rope, ringing it so loudly as to bring tv/o servants to the 
room. 

" Go up, one of you, to Lawyer Weston's," he uttered. " Bring 
him back with you. Tell him I want to alter my will, and that 
there may yet be time. Don't send — one of you go," he repeated 
in a tone of agonising entreaty. " Bring him ; bring him back with 
you ! " 

As the echo of his voice died away, there came a loud summons 
at the street door, as of a hasty arrival. " Sir," cried one of the 
maids, " they're come at last ! I thought I heard a carriage draw- 
ing up in the snow." 

" Who's come? " he asked in some confusion of mind. " Weston? " 

" Not him, sir ; Mr. and Mrs. Dare," replied the servant as she 
hurried out. 

A lady and gentleman were getting out of a coach at the door. 
A tall, very tall man, with handsome features, but an unpleasantly 
free expression. The lady was tall also, stout and fair, with an 
imperious look in her little turned-up nose. " Are we in time ? " 
the latter asked of the servants. 

" It's nearly as much as can be said, ma'am," was the answer. 
" But he has roused up in the last hour, and is growing excited. 
The doctors thought it might be so : that he'd not continue in the 
lethargy to the last." 

They went on at once to the sick chamber. Every sense of the 
dying man appeared to be on the alert. His hands were holding 
back the curtain, his eyes were strained on the door. " Why have 
you been so long?" he cried in a voice of strength that they were 
surprised to hear. 

" Dear uncle," said Mrs. Dare, bending over the bed, and clasp- 
ing the feeble hands, " we started the very moment that the letter 
came. But we could not get along — the roads are dreadfully 
heavy." 

" Sir," whispered a servant in the invalid's ear, " are we to go 
now for Lawyer Weston ? " 

" No, there's no need," was the prompt answer. " Anthony 
Dare, you are a lawyer," continued Mr. Cooper; " you'll do what 
I want done as well as another. Will you do it ? " 

"Anything you please, sir," was Mr. Dare's reply. 

" Sit down, then ; Julia, sit down. You may be hungry and 
thirsty after your journey ; but you must wait. Life's not ebbing 
out of you, as it is out of me. We'll get this matter over, that my 
mind may be so far at rest ; and then you can eat and drink of 
the best that my house affords. I am in mortal pain, Anthony 
Dare." 

Mrs. Dare was silently removing some of her outer wrappings, 
and whispering with the servant at the extremity of the roomy 
chamber; but Mr. Dare, who had taken off his great-coat and hat 
in the hall, continued to stand by the sick bed. 



A DYING BED, 



53 



u I am Sofry to hear it, sir," he said, in repiy to Mr. Cooper's 
concluding sentence. " Can the medical men afford you no relief?" 

" It is pain of mind, Anthony Dare, not pain of body. That pain 
has passed from me. I would have sent for you and Julia before, 
but I did not think until yesterday that the end was so near. Never 
let a man be guilty of injustice ! " broke forth Mr. Cooper, vehe- 
mently. " Or let him know that it will come home to him to trouble 
his dying bed." 

i " What can I do for you, sir ? " questioned Mr. Dare. 

"If you will open that bureau, you'll find pen, ink, and paper. 
Julia, come here : and see that we are alone." 

The servant left the room, and Mrs. Dare came forward, divested 
of her cloaks. She wore a handsome dark-blue satin dress (much 
the fashion at that time) with a good deal of rich white lace about 
it, a heavy gold chain, and some very showy amethysts set in gold. 
The jewellery was real, however, not sham ; but altogether her 
attire looked somewhat out of place for a death-chamber. 

The afternoon was drawing to a close. What with that and the 
dense atmosphere outside, the chamber had grown dim. Mr. Dare 
disposed the writing materials on a small round table at the invalid's 
elbow, and then looked towards the distant window. 

"I fear I cannot see, sir, without a light." 

" Call for it, Julia," said the invalid. 

A lamp was brought in, and placed on the table, so that its rays 
should not affect those eyes so soon to close to all earthly light. 
And Mr. Dare waited, pen in hand. 

" I have been hard and wilful," began Mr. Cooper, putting up his 
trembling hands. " I have been obdurate, and selfish, and unjust ; 
and now it is keeping peace from me " 

" But in what way, dear uncle?" softly put in Mrs. Dare; and it 
may be as well remarked that whenever Mrs. Dare attempted to 
speak softly and kindly, it seemed to bear an unnatural sound to 
others' ears. 

" In what way? — why, with regard to Edgar Halliburton," said 
Mr. Cooper, the dew breaking out upon his brow. " In seeking to 
follow the calling marked out for him by his father, he only did 
his duty ; and I should have seen it in that light, but for my own 
obstinate pride and self-will. I did wrong to discard him : I have 
done wrong, ever since, in keeping him from me, in refusing to be 
reconciled. Are you listening, Anthony Dare ! " 

" Certainly, sir. I hear." 

" Julia, I say that there was no reason for my turning him away. 
There has been no reason for my keeping him away. I have 
refused to be reconciled : I have sent back his letters unopened ; I 
have held him at contemptuous defiance. When I heard that 
he had married, I cast harsh words to him, because he had not 
asked my consent, though I was aware, all the time, that I had 
given him no opportunity to ask it — I had harshly refused all over- 
tures, all intercourse. I cast harsh words to his wife, knowing her 



54 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



not. But I see my error now. Do you see it, Julia? Do you see 
it, Anthony Dare?" 

"Would you like to have him sent for, sir?" suggested Mr. 
Dare. 

* It is too late. He could not be here in time. " I don't know, 
either, where he lives in London, or what his address may be. Do 
you? " — looking at his niece. 

" Oh dear, no," she replied, with a slightly contemptuous gesture 
of the shoulders. As much as to imply that to know the address 
of her cousin Edgar was quite beneath her. 

" No, he could not get here," repeated the dying man, whilst 
Mrs. Dare wiped the dews that had gathered on his pallid and 
wrinkled brow. " Julia ! Anthony ! Anthony Dare ! " 

"Sir, what is it?" 

" I wish you both to listen to me. I cannot die with this injustice 
unrepaired. I have made my will in Julia's favour. It is all left 
to her, except a few trifles to my servants. When the property 
comes to be realised, there'll be at least sixteen thousand pounds, 
and, but for that late mad speculation I entered into, there would 
have been nearer forty thousand." 

He paused. But neither Mr. nor Mrs. Dare answered. 

"You are a lawyer, Anthony, and could draw up a fresh will. 
But there's no time, I say. What is darkening the room?" he 
abruptly broke off to ask. 

Mr. Dare looked hastily up. Nothing was darkening the room, 
except the gradually increasing gloom of evening. 

"My sight is growing dim, then," said the invalid. " Listen to 
me, both of you. I charge you, Anthony and Julia Dare, that 
you divide this money with Edgar Halliburton. Give him his full 
share ; the half, even to a farthing. Will you do so, Anthony 
Dare?" 

" Yes, I will, sir." 

"Be it so. I charge you both, solemnly — do not fail. If you 
would lay up peace for the time when you shall come to be where 
I am —do not fail. There's no time legally to do what is right ; I 
feel that there is not. Ere the deed could be drawn up, I should 
be gone, and could not sign it. But I leave the charge upon you ; 
the solemn charge. The half of my money belongs of right to 
Edgar Halliburton : Julia has claim only to the other half. Be 
careful how you divide it : you are sofe executor, Anthony Dare. 
Have you your paper ready? " 

" Yes, sir." 

4 ''Then dot down a few words, as I dictate, and I will sign them. 
i I, Richard Cooper, do repent of my injustice to my dear nephew, 
Edgar Halliburton. And I desire, by this my last act on my 
death -bed, to bequeath to him the half of the money and property 
I shall die possessed of ; and I charge Anthony Dare, the executor 
of my will, to carry out this act and wish as strictly as though it 
were a formal and legal one. I desire that whatever I shall die 



A DYING BED. 



SS 



possessed of, save the bequests to my servants, may be equally 
divided between my nephew Edgar and my niece Julia.' " 

The dying man paused. " I think that's all that need be said," 
he observed. " Have you finished writing it, Anthony Dare? " 

Mr. Dare wrote fast and quickly, and was concluding the last 
words. " It is written, sir." 

" Read it." 

Mr. Dare proceeded to do so. Short as the time was which it 
took to accomplish this, the old man had fallen into a doze ere it 
was concluded ; a doze or a partial stupor. They could not tell 
which it was ; but, in leaning over him, he woke up with a start. 

" I can't die with this injustice unrepaired ! " he cried, his 
memory evidently ignoring what had just been done. "Anthony 
Dare, your wife has no right to all my money. I shall leave half 
of it to Edgar. I want you to write it down." 

" It is done, sir. This is the paper." 

" Where ? where ? Why don't you get light into the room ? It's 
dark — dark. This ? Is this it ? " — as Mr. Dare put it into his hand. 
" Now, mind ! " he added, his tone changing to one of solemn 
enjoinder ; " mind you act upon it. Julia has no right to more than 
her half share ; she must not take more : money kept by wrong, 
acquired by injustice, never prospers. It would not bring you 
good, it would not bring a blessing. Give Edgar his legal half ; 
and give him his old uncle's love and contrition. Tell him, if 
the past could come over again, there should be no estrangement 
between us." 

He lay panting for a few minutes, and then spoke again, the 
paper having fallen unnoticed from his hand. 

"Julia, when you see Edgar's wife Did I sign that paper?" 

he broke off. 

" No, sir," said Mr. Dare. " Will you sign it now? " 

" Ay. But, signed or not signed, you'll equally act upon it. I 
don't put it forth as a legal document ; I suppose it would not, in 
this informal state, stand good in law. It is only a reminder to 
you, Anthony Dare, that you may not forget my wishes. Hold me 
up in bed, and have lights brought in." 

Anthony Dare drew the curtain back, and the rays of the lamp 
flashed upon the dying man. Mr. Dare looked round for a book 
on which to place the paper while it was signed. 

" I want a light," came again from the bed, in a pleading tone. 
" Julia, why don't you tell them to bring in the lamp ? " 

" The lamp is here, uncle. It is close to you." 

" Then there's no oil in it," he cried. " Julia, I will have lights 
here. Tell them to bring up the dining-room lamps ; they give the 
best light. Don't ring; go and see that they are brought." 

Unwilling to oppose him, and doubting lest his sight should 
really have gone, Mrs. Dare went out, and returned with one of the 
servants and more light. Mr. Cooper was then lying back on his 
pillow, dozing and unconscious. 



56 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"Has he signed the paper?" Mrs. Dare whispered to her 
husband. 

He shook his head negatively, and pointed to it. It was lying 
on the bed, just as Mrs. Dare had left it. Mrs. Dare caught it up 
from any prying eyes that might be about, folded it, and held it 
securely in her hand. 

" He will wake up again presently, and can sign it then," observed 
Mr. Dare, just as a gentle ring was heard at the house door. 

" It's the doctor," said the servant ; " I know his ring." 

But the old man never did sign the paper, and never woke up 
again. He lay in a state of lethargy throughout the night. Mr. 
and Mrs. Dare watched by his bedside; the servants watched; 
and the doctors came in at intervals. But there was no change in 
his state ; until the last great change. It occurred at daybreak ; 
and when the neighbours opened their windows to the cold and the 
snow, the house of Richard Cooper remained closed. Death was 
within it. 



CHAPTER XL 

HELSTONLEIGH. 

I BELIEVE that most of the readers of " The Channings " will not 
like this story less because its scene is laid in the same place, 
Helstonleigh. 

I narrate to you, as you may have already discovered, a great deal 
of truth : of events that have actually happened, combined with 
fiction. I can only do this from my own personal experience, by 
taking you to the scenes and places where I have lived. Of this 
same town, Helstonleigh, I could relate to you volumes. No place 
in the world holds so green a spot in my memory. Do you remember 
Longfellow's poem — the one he has entitled " My Lost Youth " ? 

" Often I think of the beautiful town, 
That is seated by the sea ; 
Often in thought go up and down 
The pleasant streets of that dear old town, 
And my youth conies back to me. 
And a verse of a Lapland song 
Is haunting my memory still; 
4 A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.' 

I remember the gleams and glooms that dart 

Across the schoolboy's brain ; 
The song and the silence in the heart, 
That in part are prophecies, and in part 

Are longings wild and vain. 



HELSTONLEIGH* 



57 



And the voice of that fitful song 
Sings on, and is never still : 
• A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.* 

" There are things of which I may not speak ; 
There are dreams that cannot die ; 
There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak, 
And bring a pallor into the cheek, 
And a mist before the eye. 

And the words of that fatal song 
Come over me like a chill : 
'A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.' 

" Strange to me now are the forms I meet 
When I visit the dear old town ; 
Rut the native air is pure and sweet, 
And the trees that o'ershadow each well-known street, 
As they balance up and down, 

Are singing the beautiful song, 
Are sighing and whispering still : 
' A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.' 

£ ' And Deering's woods are fresh and fair, 
And with joy that is almost pain 
My heart goes back to wander there, 
And among the dreams of the days that were 
I find my lost youth again. 

And the music of that old song 
Throbs in my memory still : 
' A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.'" 

Those are some of its verses, and what " Deering" is to Long- 
fellow, " Helstonleigh " is to me. 

The Birmingham stage-coach came into Helstonleigh one sum- 
mer's night, and stopped at its destination, the Star-and-Garter 
Hotel, bringing with it some London passengers. The direct line 
of rail, to Helstonleigh from London, was not then opened; and 
this may serve to tell you how long it is ago. A lady and a little 
girl stepped from the inside of the coach, and a gentleman and 
three boys got down from the outside. The latter were soaking. 
Almost immediately after leaving Birmingham, to which place the 
rail had conveyed them, the rain had commenced to pour in 
torrents, and those outside received its full benefit. The coach was 
crammed, inside and out, but with the other passengers we have 
nothing to do. We have with these; they were the Halliburton s. 

For the town which Mr. Halliburton had been desirous to remove 
to, the one in which his cousin, Mrs. Dare, resided, was no other 
than Helstonleigh. 

Mrs. Halliburton drew a long face when she set eyes on her 



58 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



husband's condition. " Edgar ! you must be wet through and 
through!" 

" Yes, I am. There was no help for it." 

" You should have come inside when I wanted you to do so," she 
cried, in a voice of distress. " You should indeed." 

" And have suffered you to take my place outside ? Nonsense, 
Jane!" 

Jane looked at the hotel. " We had better remain here for the 
night. What do" you think ? " 

" Yes, I think so," he replied. " It is too wet to go about looking 
after anything that might be less expensive. Inquire if we can 
have rooms, Jane, while I see after the luggage." 

Mrs. Halliburton went in, leading Janey, and was confronted by 
the barmaid, a smart young woman in a smart cap. " Can we 
sleep here to-night ? " she inquired. 

" Yes, certainly. How many beds ? " 

" I will go up with you and see," said Mrs. Halliburton. " Be so 
kind as not to put us in your more expensive rooms," she added, in 
a lower tone. 

The barmaid looked at her from top to toe, as it is much in the 
habit of barmaids to do, when such a request is preferred. She 
saw a lady in a black silk dress, a cashmere shawl, and a plain 
straw bonnet, trimmed with white. Simple as the attire was, quiet 
as was the demeanour, there was that about Mrs. Halliburton, in 
her voice, her accent, her bearing altogether, which proclaimed her 
the gentlewoman ; and the barmaid condescended to be civil. 

"I have nothing to do with the rooms," she said ; " I'll call the 
chambermaid. My goodness! You had better get those wet 
things off, sir, unless you want to be laid up with cold." 

The words were uttered in surprise, as her eyes encountered Mr. 
Halliburton. He looked taller, and thinner, and handsomer than 
ever ; but he had a hollow cough now, and his cheek was hectic, and 
he was certainly wet through. 

The chambermaid allotted them rooms. Mr. Halliburton, after 
rubbing himself dry with towels, got into a warmed bed, and had 
warm drink supplied to him. Jane, after unpacking what would be 
wanted for the night, returned to the sitting-room, to which her 
children had been shown. A good-natured maid, seeing the boys' 
clothes were damp, had lighted a fire, and they were kneeling round 
it, having been provided with bread and butter, and milk and 
water. Intelligent, truthful, good-looking boys they were, with 
clear skins and bright, honest eyes, and open countenances. Janey 
had fallen asleep on a chair, her flaxen curls making her a pillow 
on its elbow. The boys crowded to one side of the fireplace when 
their mother came in, leaving the larger space for her ; and William 
rose and gave her a chair. Mrs. Halliburton sat down, having 
laid on the table a Book of Common Prayer, which she had brought 
in her hand. 

" Mamma, I hope papa will not be ill ! " 



HELSTONLEIGH. 



59 



" Oh, William, I fear it. Such a terrible wetting ! And to be so 
long in it ! How is it that he was so much worse than you are ? w 

" Because he sat at the end, and the gentleman next him did not 
hold the umbrella over him at all. When it came on to rain, some 
of the passengers had umbrellas and some had not, so they were 
divided for the best. We three had one between us, and we were 
wedged in between two fat old men, who helped to keep us dry. 
What a pity there was not a place for papa inside ? n 

" Yes ; or if he would only have taken mine ! " cried Mrs. Halli- 
burton. " A wetting would not have hurt me, as it may hurt him. 
What place did they call that, William, where I got out to ask him 
to change ? " 

" Bromsgrove Lickey. Mamma, you have had no tea ! " 

" I do not care for any," she sighed. Hers was a hopeful nature ; 
but something within her, this evening, seemed to whisper of trial 
for the future. She turned to the table, where stood the remains of 
the children's meal, cut a piece of bread from the loaf, and slowly 
spread it with butter. Then she poured out a little milk. 

"Dear mamma, do have some tea!" cried William; "that's 
nothing but our milk and water." 

She shook her head and took the milk. Tea would only be an 
additional expense, and she was too completely dispirited to care 
what she took. 

" I will read now," she said, taking up the Prayer-book "And 
afterwards, I think, you had better say your prayers here, near the 
fire, as you have been so wet." 

She chose a short psalm, and read it aloud. Then the children 
knelt down, each at a separate chair, to say their prayers in silence. 
Not as children's prayers are sometimes hurried over, knelt they ; 
but with lowly reverence, their heads bowed, their young hearts 
lifted, never doubting but they were heard by God. They had been 
trained in a good school. 

Did you ever have a sale of old things? Goods and chattels 
which may have served your purpose, and looked well in their 
places, seem so old when they come to be exhibited, that you feel 
half-ashamed of them ? And as to the sum they realize — you will 
not have much trouble in hoarding it. Had Mr. Halliburton known 
the small sum that would be the result of his sale ; had Jane dreamt 
that they would go for an " old song," they had never consented to 
part with them. Better have been at the cost of carrying them to 
Helstonleigh. Their bedding, blankets, etc., they^did take: and 
it was well they did so. 

I feel almost afraid to tell you how very little money they had in 
hand when they arrived. All their worldly wealth was little more than 
a hundred and twenty pounds. Debts had to be paid before leaving 
London ; and it cost money to give up their house without notice, 
for their landlord was severe. 

- One hundred and twenty pounds I And with this they had to 
buy fresh furniture, and to live until teaching came in. A forlorn 



60 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



prospect on which to re-commence the world ! No wonder that 
Jane shunned even tea at the inn, or any other expense that might 
lessen their funds ! But hope is buoyant in the human heart : and 
unless it were so, half the world might lay themselves down to die. 

Morning came : a bright, sunny, beautiful morning after the rain. 
Not, apparently, had Mr. Halliburton suffered. His limbs felt a 
little stiff, but that would go off before the day closed. Their plans 
were to take a small house, as cheap a one as they could find, in 
accordance with — you really must for once excuse the word — 
gentility. That — a tolerably fair appearance — was necessary to 
Mr. Halliburton's success as a teacher. 

" A dry, healthy spot, a little way out of the town," mused the 
landlord of the " Star," to whom they communicated their desire. 
" The London Road would be the place then. And you probably 
will find there such a house as you require." 

They found their way to the London Road — a healthy suburb of 
the town ; and there discovered a house that they thought might 
suit them : a semi-detached house of good appearance, inclosed by 
iron railings, and standing a little back from the road. A sitting- 
room was on either side of the entrance, a kitchen was at the back. 
Three bedrooms were above ; and above these again was a garret. 
A small garden was behind the house ; and beyond that was a field, 
which did not belong to them. The adjoining house was similar to 
this one; but that possessed a large and productive garden. An 
inmate of that house showed them over this one. She was dressed 
as a Quakeress. Her features were plain, but her complexion was 
fair and delicate, and she had calm blue eyes. 

" The rent of the house is thirty-two pounds per annum," she said, 
in reply to Mrs. Halliburton's question. "It belongs to Thomas 
Ashley ; but thee must not apply to him. I will furnish thee with 
the address of the agent, who has the letting of Friend Ashley's 
houses. It is Anthony Dare. You will find the house pleasant and 
healthy, if you decide upon it," she added, speaking to both of 
them. 

The latter name had struck upon Mr. Halliburton's ear. 
"Jane!" he whispered to his wife, "that must be the Mr. Dare 
who married my cousin, Julia Cooper. His name was Anthony 
Dare." 

Mr. Halliburton proceeded alone to the office of Mr. Dare, the 
gentleman you met at Mr. Cooper's ; Mrs. Halliburton returning to 
her children at the hotel. They had decided to take the house. 
Mr. Dare was not at home. " In London, with his wife," the head 
clerk said. But the clerk had power to let the house. Mr. Halli- 
burton gave him some particulars with regard to himself, and they 
were considered satisfactory ; but he did not mention that he was 
related to Mrs. Dare. 

The next thing was about furniture. The clerk directed Mr. 
Halliburton to a warehouse, where both new and second-hand 
things might be obtained, and he proceeded to it, calling in at the 



ANNA LYNN. 



61 



" Star " for his wife. She knew a great deal more about furniture 
than he. They did the best they could, spending about fifty pounds. 
A Kidderminster carpet was bought for the best sitting-room. The 
other room, which was to be Mr. Halliburton's study, and the bed- 
rooms, went for the present without any. " We will buy all those 
things when we have succeeded a bit," said Mr. Halliburton. 



CHAPTER XII. 

ANNA LYNN. 

They slept that night again at the " Star," and the following morn- 
ing early, they and their furniture took possession together of the 
house. A busy day they found it, arranging things. Jane — who 
had determined, as the saying runs, " to put her shoulder to the 
wheel," not only on this day, but on future days — did not intend to 
engage a regular servant. That, like the carpets, might be indulged 
in as they succeeded ; but in the mean time, she thought, a young 
girl might be found who would come in for a few hours daily, and 
do what they wanted done. 

In the course of the morning, the fair, pleasant face of the 
Quakeress was seen approaching the back door, from the garden. 
She wore a lilac print gown, a net kerchief, crossed under it on her 
neck, and the peculiar net cap, with its high caul and neat little 
border. 

" I have stepped in to ask if I can help thee with thy work," she 
began. " Thee hast plenty to do, setting things straight, and thy 
husband does not look strong. I will aid if thee pleasest." 

" You are very kind to be so thoughtful for a stranger," replied 
Jane, charmed with the straightforward frankness of the Quakeress. 
" I hope you will first tell me to whom I am indebted." 

" Thee can call me Patience," was the ready reply. " I live next 
door, with Samuel Lynn and his daughter Anna. His wife died 
soon after the child was born. I was related to Anna Lynn ; and 
when she was departing she sent for me, and begged me not to 
leave her child, unless Samuel should take unto himself another 
wife. But that appears to be far from his thoughts. He loves the 
child much ; she is as the apple of his eye." 

"Is Mr. Lynn in business ? " asked Jane. 

" Not on his own account now. He was a glove manufacturer, 
as a young man, but he had not a large capital ; and when the 
British ports were opened for the admission of gloves from the 
French, it ruined him — as it did many others in the city. Only 
the rich masters could stand that. Numbers went then." 

" Went ! " echoed Jane. " Went where ? " 

" To ruin. Ah ! I remember it : though it is a long time ago 
now. It was, I think, in the year 1825. I cannot describe to thee 



62 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



the distress and destruction it brought upon this city, until then so 
flourishing. The manufacturers had to close their works, and the 
men went about the streets, starving." 
" Did the distress continue long ? " 

"For weeks, and months, and years. The town will never be 
again, in that respect, what it has been. Samuel Lynn was a man 
of integrity, and he gave up business while he could pay every- 
one, and accepted the post of manager in the manufactory of 
Thomas Ashley. Thomas Ashley is one of the first manufacturers 
in the city, as his father was before him. When thee shall know 
the place and the people better, thee will find that there is not a 
name more respected throughout Helstonleigh than that of Thomas 
Ashley." 

* k I suppose he is a rich man ? " 

" Yes, he is rich," replied Patience, who was as busy with her 
hands as she was in talking. " His household is expensive, and he 
keeps his open and his close carriages ; but, for all that, he must 
be putting by money. It is not for his riches that Thomas Ashley 
is respected, but for his high character. There is not a more just 
man living, than Thomas Ashley ; there is not a manufacturer in 
the town who is so considerate and kind to his workmen. His rate 
of wages is on the highest scale, and he is incapable of oppression. 
He has a son and daughter. He, the boy, causes him much uneasi- 
ness and cost." 

" Is he — not steady? " hastily asked Jane. 

" Bless thee, it is not that ! " was the laughing answer of Patience. 
" He is but a young boy yet. When he was fourteen months old, 
the nurse let him fall from her arms, from the first landing to the 
hall below. At first they thought he was not hurt : Margaret 
Ashley herself thought it ; the doctors thought it. But in a little 
time injury grew apparent. It lay in one of the hips ; he is often in 
great pain, and will be lame for life. Abscess after abscess forms 
in the hip. They take him to the sea-side ; to doctors in London ; 
but nothing cures him. A beautiful boy as you ever saw ; but his 
hurt renders him peevish. He is fond of books; and David Byrne, 
who is a Latin and Greek scholar, goes daily to instruct him : but 
the boy is thrown back by his fits of illness. It is a great grief to 

Thomas and Margaret Ashley. They Why, Anna, is it thee ? 

What dost thou do here ? " 

Mrs. Halliburton turned from the kitchen cupboard, where she 
and Patience were arranging crockery, to behold a little girl, who 
was no doubt Anna Lynn. Dark blue eyes were deeply set beneath 
their long lashes, which lay on a damask and dimpled cheek ; her 
pretty teeth shone like pearls between her smiling lips, and her 
chestnut hair fell in a mass of careless curls upon her neck. Never, 
Mrs. Halliburton thought, had she seen a face so lovely. Jane was 
a pretty child ; but Jane faded into nothing in comparison with the 
vision standing there. 

" Thee has thy cap off again, Anna ! " cried the Quakeress, with 



ANNA LYNN. 



63 



some asperity of tone. " Art thee not ashamed to be so bold ? — 
going about with thy head uncovered ! " 

" The cap came off, Patience," gently responded Anna. She had 
a sweetly timid manner ; a modest expression. 

" Thee need not tell me what is untrue. When the cap is tied on, 
it will not come off, unless purposely removed. Go home, and put 
it on. Thee may come back again. Perhaps Friend Halliburton 
will permit thee to stay awhile with her children, who are arranging 
their books in the study. Is thy French lesson learnt ? " 

" Not quite," replied Anna, running away. 

She returned with a pretty little white net cap on, the model of 
that worn by Patience. Her luxuriant curls were pushed under it, 
and the crimped border rested on the fair forehead. 

" Nay, there is no call to put all thy hair out of sight, child," said 
Patience. " Where are thy combs ? " 

" In my hair, Patience." 

Patience took off the cap, formed two flat curls, by means of the 
combs, on either side the temples, put the cap on again, and tucked 
the rest of the hair smoothly under it. Mrs. Halliburton then took 
Anna's hand, and led her to her own children. 

" What a pity it is to hide her hair ! " she said afterwards to 
Patience. 

" Dost thee think so ? It is the custom with our people. Anna's 
hair is fine, and of a curly nature. Brush it as I will, it curls ; and 
she has acquired a habit of taking her cap off when I am not 
watching. Her father, I grieve to say, will let her sit by the hour 
together, her hair down, as thee saw it now, and her cap anywhere. 
I believe he thinks nothing she does is wrong. I talk to him 
much." 

" I never saw a more beautiful child ! " said Jane, warmly. 

" I grant thee that she is fair ; but she is eleven years old now, 
and her vanity should be checked. She is sometimes invited to the 
Ashley s', where she sees the mode in which Mary Ashley is dressed, 
according to the fashion of the world, and it sets her longing. 
Samuel Lynn will not listen to me. He is pleased that his child 
should be received there as Mary Ashley's equal; he cannot forget 
the time when he was in a good position himself." 

" Who teaches Anna ? " 

" She attends a small school for Friends, kept by Ruth Darby. 
It is the holidays now. Her father educates her well. She learns 
French and drawing, and other branches of study suitable for 
girls. Take care ! let me help thee with that heavy table." 

Presently they went to see how things were getting on in the 
study. Jane could not keep her eyes from the face of that lovely 
child. It partly hindered her work, which there was little need of 
on that busy day ; a day so busy that they were all glad when it 
was over, and they were at liberty to retire to rest. 

Rarely had Jane witnessed so beautiful a view as that which 
met her sight the following morning, when she drew up her 



64 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



blind. The previous day had been hazy — nothing was to be 
seen; now the atmosphere had cleared. The great extent of 
scenery spread around, the green fields, the growing corn, the 
sparkling rivulets, the woods with their darker and their brighter 
trees, the undulating slopes— all were charming. But beyond all, 
and far more charming, bounding the landscape in the distant 
horizon, stretched the long chain of the far-famed Malvern Hills. 
As the sun cast upon them its light and shade, their outline so 
clearly depicted against the sky, and their white villas peeping out 
from the trees at their base — Jane felt that she could have gazed for 
ever. A wondrous picture is that of Malvern, as seen from Helston- 
leigh in the freshness of the early morning. 

" Edgar ! " she impulsively exclaimed, turning to the bed — for 
Mr. Halliburton had not risen — " you never saw anything more 
beautiful than the view from this window. I am sure half the 
Londoners never dreamt of anything like it." 

There was no reply. " Perhaps he may be still asleep," she 
thought. But upon approaching the bed, she saw that his eyes 
were open. 

" Jane," he gasped, " I am ill." 

" 111! " she repeated, a spasm darting through her heart. 

" Every limb is paining me. My head aches, and I am burning 
with fever. I have felt it coming on all night." 

She bent down ; she felt his hands and his hot face — all burning, 
as he said, with fever. 

" We must call in a doctor," she quietly said, suppressing every 
sign of dismay, that it might not agitate him. " I will ask Patience 
to recommend one." 

" Yes ; better have a doctor at once. What will become of us ? 
If I should be going to have an illness " 

" Stay, Edgar ; do not give way to sad anticipations," she gently 
said. " A brave mind, you know, goes half way towards a cure. It 
is the effect of that wetting ; the cold must have been smouldering 
within you." 

Smouldering only to burst out the fiercer for delay. Patience 
spoke in favour of their own medical man, a Mr. Parry, who lived 
near them, and had a large practice. He came; and pronounced 
the malady to be rheumatic fever. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

ILLNESS. 

For nine weeks Mr. Halliburton never left his bed. His wife was 
worn to a shadow ; what with waiting upon him, and battling with 
her anxiety. Her body was weary, her heart was sick. Do you 
know the cost of illness ? Jane knew it then, 



ILLNESS. 



6 S 



In two weeks more, he could leave his easy-chair and crawl 
about the room ; and by that time he was all eagerness to com- 
mence his operations for the future. 

" I must have some cards printed, Jane," he cried, one morning. 
Ui Mr. Halliburton, Professor of the Classics and Mathematics, late 
of King's Col — • — or should it be simply 'Edgar Halliburton ? 7 " 
he broke off, to deliberate. " I wonder what the custom may be, 
down here ? " 

" I think you should wait until you are stronger, before you order 
your cards," was Jane's reply. 

" But I can be getting things in train, Jane. I have been — how 
many weeks is it now ? " 

" Eleven." 

" To be sure. It was June when we came ; it is now September. 
I have been obliged to neglect the boys' lessons, too ! " 

" They have been very good and quiet ; have gone on with their 
lessons themselves. If we have trouble in other ways, we have 
a blessing in our children, Edgar. They are thoroughly loving and 
dutiful." 

" I don't know the ordinary terms of the neighbourhood," he 
resumed, after an interval of silence. "And — I wonder if people 
will want references ? Jane " — after another silence — " you must 
put your things on, and go to Mrs. Dare's." 

" To Mrs. Dare's ! " she echoed. " Now ? I don't know her." 

" Never mind about not knowing her," he eagerly continued. 
" She is my cousin. You must ask whether they will allow them- 
selves to be referred to. Peach will allow it also, I am quite certain. 
Do go, Jane." 

Invalids, in the weak state of Mr. Halliburton, are apt to be 
restlessly impatient, when the mind is set upon any plan or project. 
Jane found that it would vex him much if she declined to go to Mrs. 
Dare, and she made ready for the visit. Patience directed her to 
their residence. 

It was situated at the opposite end of Helstonleigh. A handsome 
house, inclosed in a high wall, and bearing the imposing title of 
" Pomeranian Knoll." Jane entered the iron gates, walked round 
the carriage drive that inclosed the lawn, and rang at the house 
bell. A showy footman in light blue livery, with a bunch of cords 
on his shoulder, answered it. 

" Can I see Mrs. Dare?" 

" What name, ma'am ? " 

Jane gave in one of her visiting cards, wondering whether that 
was not too grand a proceeding, considering the errand upon which 
she had come. She was shown into an elegant room, to the pre- 
sence of Mrs. Dare. That lady was in a costly morning dress, with 
chains, rings, bracelets, and other glittering jewellery about her : as 
she had worn the evening you saw her beside Mr. Cooper's death- 
bed. 

"Mrs. Halliburton?" she was repeating in doubt, when Jane 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 5 



66 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



entered, her eyes strained on the card. " What Mrs. Halliburton ?" 
she added, not very civilly, turning her eyes upon Jane. 

Jane explained. The wife of Edgar Halliburton, Mrs. Dare's 
cousin. 

Mrs. Dare's presence of mind wholly forsook her. She grew 
deathly white ; she caught at a chair for support ; she was utterly 
unable to speak, or to conceal her agitation. Jane could only look 
at her in amazement, wondering whether she was seized with sudden 
illness. 

A few moments, and she recovered herself. She took a seat, 
motioned Jane to another, and asked, as she might have asked of 
any stranger, what her business might be. Jane explained it, 
somewhat at length. 

Mrs. Dare's surprise was great. She could not or would not, 
understand ; and her face flushed a deep red, and again grew deadly 
pale. "Edgar Halliburton come to live in Helstonleigh ! * she 
repeated. " And you say you are his wife ? " 

" I am his wife," was the reply of Jane, spoken with quiet dignity. 

" What is it that you say he has in view, in coming here ?" 

" I beg your pardon ; I thought I had explained." And Jane 
went over the ground again — why he had been obliged to leave 
London, and his reasons for settling in Helstonleigh. 

"You could not have come to a worse place," said Mrs. Dare, 
who appeared to be annoyed almost beyond repression. " Masters 
of all sorts are so plentiful here that they tread on each other's heels." 

Discouraging news ! And Jane's heart beat fast on hearing it. 
" My husband thought you and Mr. Dare would kindly interest 
yourselves for him. He knows that Mr. Peach will " 

" No," interrupted Mrs. Dare, in a decisive tone. " For Edgar 
Halliburton's own sake I must decline to recommend him ; or, 
indeed, to interfere at all. It would only encourage fallacious 
hopes. Masters are here in abundance — I speak of private masters ; 
they don't find half enough to do. Schools are also plentiful. The 
best thing will be to go to some place where there is a better open- 
ing, and not to settle himself here at all ! " 

" But we have already settled here," replied Jane. 

A thought suddenly struck Mrs. Dare. " It can never be Edgar 
who has taken Mr. Ashley's cottage in the London Road ? I re- 
member the name was said to be Halliburton." 

" The same. It was let to us by Mr. Dare's clerk." 

Mrs. Dare sat biting her lips. That she was grievously annoyed 
was evident ; but, in deference to good manners, which were par- 
tially returning to her, she strove to repress its signs. " I presume 
your husband is poor, Mrs. Halliburton?" 

" We are very poor." 

" It is generally the case with teachers . as I have observed. 
Well, I can only give one answer to your application — that we 
must decline all interference. I hope Edgar will not think of ap- 
plying again to us upon the subject." 



ILLNESS. 



67 



Jane rose. Mrs. Dare remained seated. And yet she prided 
herself upon her good breeding ! 

" I had forgotten a question which my husband particularly 
desired me to ask," Jane said, turning back, as she was moving to 
the door. " Edgar saw by the papers that his uncle, Mr. Cooper, 
died the beginning of the year. Did he remember him on his 
death-bed, so far as to send a message of reconciliation ? " 

Strange to say, the countenance of Mrs. Dare again changed : now 
to a burning heat, now to a livid pallor. She hesitated in her answer. 

" Yes," she said at length. " Mr. Cooper so far relented as to 
send him his forgiveness. 6 Tell my nephew Edgar, if you ever see 
him, that I am sorry for my harshness ; that I would treat him 
differently, were the time to come over again.' I do not remember 
the precise words ; but they were to that effect. There is no doubt 
that he would have wished to be reconciled : but time did not allow 
it. I should have written to Edgar of this, had I been acquainted 
with his address." 

" A letter addressed to King's College would always have found 
him. But he will be glad to hear this. He also bade me ask how 
Mr. Cooper's money was left — if you would kindly give him the 
information." 

Mrs. Dare bent her head. She was busy playing with her bracelet. 
" The will was proved in Doctors' Commons, Edgar Halliburton 
may see it by paying a shilling there." 

It was not a gracious answer, and Jane paused. "He cannot go 
to Doctors' Commons ; he is not in London," she gently said. 

Mrs. Dare raised her head. A look, speaking plainly of defiance, 
had settled itself on her features. "It was left to me ; the whole of 
it, except a few trifling legacies to his servants. What could Edgar 
Halliburton expect ? " 

" I am sure that he did not expect anything," observed Jane. 
" Though I believe a hope has sometimes crossed his mind, that 
Mr. Cooper might at the last relent, and remember him." 

" Nay," said Mrs. Dare, " he had behaved too disobediently for 
that. First, in opposing his uncle's wishes that he should enter into 
business ; secondly, in his marriage." 

"In his marriage ! " echoed Jane, a flush rising to her own face. 

" It was so. Mr. Cooper was exceedingly exasperated when he 
heard that Edgar had married. He looked upon the marriage, I 
believe, as undesirable for him in a pecuniary point of view. You 
must pardon my speaking of this to you personally. You appear to 
wish for the truth." 

The flush on Jane's face deepened to crimson. " It is true that I 
had no money," she said. " But I am the daughter of a clergyman, 
and was reared a gentlewoman ! * 

" I suppose my uncle thought Edgar Halliburton should have 
married a fortune. However, all that is past and gone, and it will 
do no good to recall it. I am sorry that you should have been so 
ill-advised for your own interests as to fix on this place to come to.' 1 



63 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Mrs. Dare rose. She had sat all this time ; Jane had stood. 
u Tell Edgar, from me, that I am sorry to hear of his illness. Tell 
him that there is no possible chance of success for him in Helston- 
leigh; no opening whatever! When I say that I hope he will 
speedily remove to some place less overdone with masters, I speak 
only in his own interest ! " 

She rang the bell as she spoke, and gave Jane the tips of two of 
her fingers. The footman held open the hall door, and bowed her 
out. Jane went down the gravel sweep, determined never again to 
trouble Mrs. Dare. 

"Joseph! " cried Mrs. Dare, sharply. 

"Ma'am?" 

"Should that lady ever call again, I am not at home, re- 
member ! " 

" Very well, ma'am," was the man's reply. 

Mrs. Dare did not stay to hear it. She had flown upstairs to her 
room in trepidation. There she attired herself hastily, and went 
out, bending her steps towards Mr. Dare's office. It was situated 
at the end of the town ; and the door displayed a brass plate : " Mr. 
Dare, Solicitor." 

Mrs. Dare entered the outer room. "Is Mr. Dare alone?" she 
asked of the clerks. 

" No, ma'am. Mr. Ashley is with him." 

Chafing at the answer, for she was in a mood of great impatience, 
of inward tremor, Mrs. Dare waited for a few minutes. Mr. Ashley 
came out. A man of nearly forty years, rather above the middle 
height, with a fresh complexion, dark eyes, and well-formed features. 
A benevolent-looking, good man. His wife was a cousin of Mr. 
Dare's. 

Mr. Dare was seated at his table in his own room when his wife 
came in. She had turned again of an ashy paleness, and she dropped 
into a chair near to him. 

"What is the matter?" he asked in astonishment. "Are you 
ill?" 

" I think I shall die," she gasped. " I have had a mortal fright, 
Anthony." 

Mr. Dare rose. He was about to get her some water, or to call 
for it, but she caught his arm. " Stay, and hear me ! Stay ! 
Anthony, those Halliburtons have come to Helstonleigh. Come to 
live here ! " 

Mr. Dare's mouth opened. " What Halliburtons ? " he presently 
asked. 

" They. He has come here to settle. He wants to teach ; and 
his wife has been with me, asking us to be referees. Of course 1 
put the stopper upon that. The idea of our having poor relations 
in the town who get their living by teaching ! " 

A very disagreeable idea indeed ; for those who were playing first 
fiddle in the town, and who expected to play it still. But, not for 
that did the man and wife stand gazing at each gther; and the 



A CHRISTMAS DREAM. 



69 



naturally bold look on Mr. Dare's face had faded considerably just 
then. 

" She asked about the will," said Mrs. Dare, dropping her voice 
to a whisper, and looking round with a shiver. " I thought I should 
have died with fear." 

Mr. Dare rallied his courage. Any little reminiscence that may 
have momentarily disturbed his equanimity he shook off, and was 
his own bold self again. 

" Nonsense, Julia ! What is there to fear ? The will is proved 
and acted upon. Whatever the old man may have uttered to us in 
his death ramblings was heard by ourselves alone. If any one had 
heard it, I should not much care. A will's a will all the world over ; 
and to act against it would be illegal." 

Mrs. Dare sat wiping her brow, and gathering up her courage. 
It came back by slow degrees. 

"Anthony, we must get them out of Helstonleigh. For more 
reasons than one, we must get them out. They are in that house 
of Mr. Ashley's." 

He looked surprised. " They ! Ay, to be sure : the name in the 
books is Halliburton. It never occurred to me that it could be 
they. I wonder if they are poor ? " 

" Very poor," the wife said. 

"Just so," said Mr. Dare, with a pleasant smile. "I'll not ask 
for the rent this quarter, but let it go on a bit. We may get them 
out, Mrs. Dare." 

You need not be told that Anthony Dare and his wife had omitted 
to act upon Mr. Cooper's dying injunction. At the time they did 
really intend to fulfil it ; they were not thieves or forgers. But 
Edgar Halliburton was not present to remind them of his claims : 
and, when the money came to be realised, to be in their own hands, 
there it was suffered to remain. Waiting for him, of course ; they 
did not know precisely where to find him, and did not take any 
trouble to inquire. Very tempting and useful they found the money. 
A large portion of their own share went in paying back debts, for 
they lived at a high rate ; and — and in short they had intrenched 
upon that other share, and could not now have paid it over, had 
they been ever so willing to do so. No wonder that Mrs. Dare 
had felt as one in mortal fear, when she met Jane Halliburton face 
to face ! 



CHAPTER XIV. 

A CHRISTMAS DREAM. 

Winter had come to Helstonleigh : frost hovered in the air and 
rested on the ground. How was Mr. Halliburton ? He had never 
once been out since his illness, and he sat by the fire when he did 



7o MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



not lie in bed, and his cough was racking him. He might, and 
probably would, have recovered health under more favourable 
auspices, but anxiety of mind was killing him. Their money was 
dwindling to a close, and delicacies they dared not get for him. 
Mr. Halliburton would say he did not require them ; could not eat 
them if they were procured. Poor man ! he craved for them in his 
inmost heart. Strange to say, he did not see his own danger. Or, 
rather, it would have been strange, but that similar cases are met 
with every day. " When this cold weather has passed, and spring 
is in, then I shall get my strength up," was his constant cry. " Then 
I shall set about my work in earnest, and make my arrival and my 

Elans known to Mr. Peach. It has been of no use troubling him 
eforehand." False, false hopes ! fond, delusive hopes ! 
Dr. Carrington had said that if he took care of himself, he might 
live and be well. The other doctors had said the same. And there 
was no reason to doubt their judgment. But they had not bargained 
for any attack of rheumatic fever, or for the increased injury to the 
lungs which the same cause, that past soaking, had induced. 

On Christmas Eve, he and Jane were sitting over the fire in the 
twilight. He could come downstairs now ; indeed, he did not 
appear to be so ill as he really was. The surgeon who attended him 
in the fever had been discharged long ago. " There's nothing the 
matter with me now but debility ; and, only time will bring me out 
of that," Mr. Halliburton said, when he dismissed him. Jane was 
hopeful ; more hopeful by fits and starts than continuously so ; but 
she did really believe he might get well when winter had passed. 
They were sitting beside the fire, when a great bustle interrupted 
them. All the children trooped in at once, with the noise that it is 
the delight of children not to stir without. Frank, who had been 
out, had entered the house with his arms full of holly and ivy, his 
bright face glowing with excitement. The others were attending 
him to show off the prize. 

" Look at all this Christmas, mamma ! " cried he. " I have 
bought it." 

" Bought It ? " repeated Jane. " My dear Frank, did I not tell 
yoit we must do without Christmas this year ? " 

" But it cost nothing, mamma. Only a penny ! " 

Jane sighed. She did not say to the children that even a penny 
was no longer " nothing." 

" You know that penny I have kept in my pocket a long while," 
went on Frank in excitement, addressing the assemblage. " Well, 
I thought if mamma would not buy some Christmas, I would." 

" But you did not buy all that for a penny, Frank ? We should 
pay sixpence for it in London." 

" I did, though, mamma. I had it of that old man who lives in 
the cottage higher up the road, with the big garden to it. He was 
going to cut me more, but I told him this was plenty. You should 
nave seen the heaps he gave a woman for twopence : she wanted a 
wheelbarrow to carry it away." 



A CHRISTMAS DREAM. 



71 



Janey clapped her hands, and began to dance. " I shall help to 
dress the rooms ! We must have a merry Christmas ! " 

Mr. Halliburton drew her to him. " Yes, we must have a merry 
Christmas, must we not, Janey ? Jane " — turning to his wife — " can 
you manage to have a nice dinner for us ? Christmas only comes 
once a year." 

He looked up with his haggard face : very much as though he 
were longing for a nice dinner then. 

" I will see what I can do," said Jane in reply, smothering down 
another sigh. " I am going out presently to the butcher's. A joint 
of beef will be best to buy ; and though the pudding's a plain one, 
I hope it will be good. Yes, we must keep Christmas." 

Chrj^tmas-day dawned, and in due time they assembled as usual. 
Jane intended to go to church that day. During her husband's ill- 
ness she had been obliged to send the children alone. They had 
been trained to know what church meant, and did not require some 
one with them to keep them in order there. A good thing if the 
same could be said of all children ! 

It was a clear, bright morning, cold and frosty. Mr. Halliburton 
came down just as they were starting. 

" I feel so much better to-day ! " he exclaimed. " I could almost 
go with you myself. Jane " — smiling at her look of consternation — 
" you need not be startled : I do not intend to attempt it. William, 
you are not ready." 

" Mamma said I was to stay with you, papa." 

" Stay with me ! There's not the least necessity for that. I tell 
you all I am feeling better to-day — quite well. You can go with the 
rest, William." 

William looked at his mother, and for a moment Jane hesitated. 
Only for a moment. " I would rather he remained, Edgar," she 
said. " Betsy will be gone by twelve o'clock. Indeed, I should not 
feel comfortable at the thought of your being alone." 

" Oh, very well," replied Mr. Halliburton, quite gaily. " I suppose 
you must remain, William, or we shall have mamma leaving when 
the service is only half over, to see whether I have not fallen into 
the fire." 

Jane had all the household care upon her shoulders now, and a 
great portion of the household work. Though an active domestic 
manager, she had known nothing practically of the more menial 
work of a house ; she knew it only too well now. The old saying 
is a very true one : " Necessity makes us acquainted with strange 
bedfellows." This young girl, Betsy, who came in part of each day 
to assist, was almost as much trouble as profit. She had said to 
Jane on Christmas Eve : " If you please, mother says I am to be at 
home to-morrow, if it's convenient." I am ! However, Jane and, 
the young lady came to a compromise. She was to go home at twelve 
and come back later to wash up the dishes. Of course it entailed 
upon Jane all the trouble of preparing dinner. 

Have you ever known one of these cases yourself? Where a lady 



72 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES, 



— a lady, mind you, as Jane was — has had to put aside her habits 
of refinement, pin up her gown, and turn to and cook ; roast the 
meat and boil potatoes, and all the other essential items ? Many a 
one is doing it now in real life. Jane Halliburton was not a solitary 
example. The pudding had been made the day before, and partly 
boiled : it was now on the fire, boiling again, and the rest of the 
dinner she would do on her return from church. 

It was something wonderful, the improvement in Mr. Halliburton's 
health that day. He took his part with William in reading the 
psalms and lessons while the rest were at church : it was what he 
had been unable to do for a long time, in consequence of his cough 
and his laboured breathing. The duty over, he lay back in his 
chair ; in thought apparently, not in exhaustion. 

" Peace on earth, and good will towards men ! n he repeated 
presently, in a fervent, but somewhat absent tone. " William, 
my boy, I think peace must be coming to me at last. I do feel 
so well." 

I u What peace, papa ? " asked William, puzzled. 

" The peace of renewed health, of hope ; freedom from worry. 
The Christmas season and the bright day have taken away all my 
despondency. Let me go on like this, and in another month I shall 
be out and at work." 

William's eyes sparkled. He fully believed it all. Boys are 
sanguine. 

They were to dine at three o'clock, and Jane did her best to pre- 
pare it. During the process, Patience appeared at the back door 
with a plate of oranges. " Will thee accept of these for thy children ? " 
asked she. 

" How kind you are ! " exclaimed Jane, in a grateful impulse, as 
she thought of her children. Of such little treats they had latterly 
enjoyed a scanty share. " Patience, I hope you did not buy them 
purposely ? " 

"Had I had to buy them, thee would not have seen them," re- 
turned the candid Quakeress. "A friend of Samuel Lynn's, who 
lives at Bristol, sends us a small case every winter. When I was 
unpacking it this morning I said to him, ' The young ones at the 
next door would be pleased with a few of these ; ' but he did not 
answer. Thee must not think him selfish ; he is not a selfish man ; 
but he cannot bear to see anything go beside the child. Anna looked 
at him eagerly ; she would have been pleased to send half the box : 
and he saw it. ' Take in a few, Patience,' he cried." 

" I am much obliged to him, and to you also," repeated Jane. 
" Patience, Mr. Halliburton is so much better to-day ! Go in, and 
see him." 

Patience went into the parlour, carrying the oranges with her. 
When she came out again, there was a grave expression on her 
serene face. 

" Thee will do well not to count upon this apparent improvement 
in thy husband." 



A CHRISTMAS DREAM. 



73 



Jane's heart went down considerably. " I do not exactly count 
upon it, Patience," she confessed ; " but he does seem to have changed 
so much for the better, that I feel in greater spirits than I have felt 
this many a day. His cough seems almost well." 

" I do not wish to throw a damp upon thee ; still, were I thee, I 
would not reckon upon it. These sudden improvements sometimes 
turn out to have been deceitful. Fare thee well ! " 

Jane went into the parlour. The children were gathered round 
the plate of oranges. " Mamma, do look ! " cried Janey. " Are they 
not good ? There are six : one apiece for us all. I wonder if papa 
could eat one. Gar, you are not to touch. Papa, could you eat an 
orange ? " 

Unseen by the children, Mr. Halliburton had been straining his 
eager gaze upon the oranges. His mouth parched with inward fever, 
his throat dry, they appeared, coming thus unexpectedly before him, 
what the long-wished-for spring of water is to the fainting traveller 
in the Eastern desert. Jane caught the look, and handed the plate 
to him. " You would like one, Edgar ? " 

" I am thirsty," he said, in a tone savouring of apology, for the 
oranges seemed to belong to the children rather than to him. " I 
think I must eat mine before dinner. Cut it into four, will you ? " 

He took up one of the quarters. " It is delicious ! " he exclaimed. 
" It is so refreshing ! " 

The children stood around and watched him. They enjoyed 
oranges, but scarcely with a zest so intense as that. 

When Jane returned to the kitchen, she found a helpmate. The 
maid from next door, Grace, a young Quakeress, fair and demure, 
was standing there. She had been sent by Patience to do what she 
could for half an hour. " How considerate she is ! " thought grateful 
Jane. 

They dined in comfort, Grace waiting on them. Afterwards the 
oranges were placed upon the table. Master Gar caught up the 
plate, and presented it to his mother. " Papa has had his," quoth 
he. 

" Not for me, Gar," said Jane. " I do not eat oranges. I will 
give mine to papa." 

The three younger children speedily attacked theirs. William did 
not. He left his by the side of the one rejected by his mother, and 
set the plate by Mr. Halliburton. 

" Do you intend these for me, William ? " 

" Yes, papa." 

Frank looked surprised. " I say, William, you don't mean to say 
that you are not going to eat your orange ? Why, you were as glad 
as any of us when they came." 

" I eat oranges when I want them," observed William, with an 
affectation of carelessness, which betrayed a delicacy of feeling that 
might have done honour to one older than he. " I have had too 
good a dinner to care about oranges." 

Mr. Halliburton drew William towards him, and looked steadfastly 



74 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



into his face with a meaning smile. " Thank you, my darling," he 
whispered : and William coloured excessively as he sat down. 

Mr. Halliburton ate the oranges, and appeared as if he could have 
eaten as many more. Then he leaned his head back on the pillow 
which was placed over his chair, and presently fell asleep. 

" Be very still, dear children," whispered Jane. 

They looked round, saw why they were to be still, and hushed their 
busy voices. William pulled a stool to his mother's feet, and took 
his seat on it, holding her hand between his. 

" Papa will soon be well again now," he softly said. " Don't you 
think so, mamma?" 

" Indeed I hope he will," she answered. 

"But don't you think it?" he persisted; and Jane detected an 
anxiety in his tone. Could there have been a shadow of fear upon 
the boy's own heart? "He said, mamma, while you were at church, 
that in another month he should be strong again." 

" Not quite so soon as that, I fear, William. He has been so 
much reduced, you know. Later : if he goes on as well as he 
appears to be going on now." 

Jane set the children to that renowned game, " Cross questions 
and crooked answers." You may have had the pleasure of playing 
at it : if so, you will remember that it consists chiefly of whispering. 
It is difficult to keep children quiet long together. 

" Where am I ? " cried a sudden voice, startling the children in 
the midst of their silent whispers. 

It came from Mr. Halliburton. He had slept about half an hour, 
and was now looking round in bewilderment, his head starting away 
from the pillow. " Where am I ? " he repeated. 

" You have been asleep, papa," cried Frank. 

" Asleep ! Oh, yes ! I remember. You are all here, and it is 
Christmas Day. I have been dreaming." 

" What about, papa? " 

Mr. Halliburton let his head fall back on the pillow again. He 
fixed his eyes on vacancy, and there ensued a silence. The children 
looked at him. 

" Singular things are dreams," he presently exclaimed. " I 
thought I was on a broad, broad road — an immense road, and it 
was crowded with people. We were all going one way, stumbling 
and tripping along " 

"What made you stumble, papa?" interrupted Janey, whose 
busy tongue was ever ready to talk. 

" The road was full of impediments," continued Mr. Halliburton, 
in a dreamy tone, as if his mental vision were buried in the scene, 
and he were relating what had actually occurred. " Stones, and 
hillocks, and brambles, and pools of shallow water, and long grass that 
got entangled round our feet : nothing but difficulties and hindrances. 
At the end, in the horizon, as far as the eye could reach — very, very 
far away indeed — a hundred times as far away as Malvern Hills 
appear to be from us— there shone a brilliant light. So brilliant I 



A CHRISTMAS DREAM. 



75 



You have never seen anything like it in life, for the naked eye could 
not bear such light. And yet we seemed to look at it, and our 
sight was not dazzled ! " 

"Perhaps it was fireworks?" interrupted Gar. Mr. Halliburton 
went on without heeding him. 

" We were all pressing on to get to the light, though the distant 
journey seemed as if it could never end. So long as we kept our 
eyes fixed on the light, we could see how we walked, and we passed 
over the rough places without fear. Not without difficulty. But 
still we did pass them, and advanced. But the moment we took 
our eyes from the light, then we were stopped : some fell ; some 
wandered aside, and would not try to go forward ; some were torn 
with the brambles; some fell into the water; some stuck in the 
mud : in short, they could not get on any way. And yet they knew 
— at least, it seemed that they knew — that if they would only lift 
their eyes to the light, and keep them steadfastly on it, they were 
certain to be helped, and to make progress. The few who did keep 
their eyes on it — very few they were ! — steadily bore onwards. The 
same hindrances, the same difficulties were in their path, so that 
at times they also felt tempted to despair— to fear they could not 
get on. But their fears were groundless. So long as they did not 
take their eyes from the light, it guided them in certainty and safety 
over the rough places. It was a helper that could not fail ; and it 
was ready to guide every one — all those millions and millions of 
travellers. To guide them throughout the whole of the way until 
they had gained it." 

The children had become interested and were listening with 
hushed lips. " Why did they all not let it guide them ? " breathlessly 
asked William. " Nothing can be more easy that to keep our eyes 
on a light that does not dazzle. What did you do, papa? " 

" It seemed that the light would only shine on one step at a time," 
continued Mr. Halliburton, not in answer to William, but evidently 
absorbed in his own thoughts. "We could not see further than 
the one step, but that was sufficient ; for the moment we had taken 
it, then the light shone upon another. And so we passed on, pro- 
gressing to the end, the light seeming brighter and brighter as we 
drew near to it." 

" Did you get to it, papa?" 

"I am trying to recollect, William. I seemed to be quite close 
to it. I suppose I awoke then." 

Mr. Halliburton paused, still in thought : but he said no more. 
Presently he turned to his wife. "Is it nearly tea-time, Jane? I 
cannot think what makes me so thirsty." 

" We can have tea now, if you like," she replied. " I will go and 
see about it." 

She left the room, and Janey ran after her. In the kitchen, 
making a great show and parade of being at work amidst plates 
and dishes, was a damsel of fifteen, her hair curiously twisted about 
her head, and her round, green eyes wide open. It was Betsy. 



76 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"That was good pudding," cried she, turning her face to Mrs. 
Halliburton. " Better than mother's." 

She alluded to a slice which had been given her. Jane smiled. 
" We want tea, Betsy." 

" Have it in directly, mum," was Miss Betsy's acquiescent reponse. 

Scarcely were the words spoken, when a commotion was heard 
in the sitting-room. The door was flung open, and the boys called 
out, the tone of their voices one of utter alarm. Jane, the child, 
and maid, made but one step to the room. All Jane's fears had 
flown to " fire." 

Fire had been almost less startling. Mr. Halliburton was lying 
back on the pillow with a ghastly face, his mouth, and shirt-front 
stained with blood. He could not speak, but he asked assistance 
with his imploring eyes. In coughing he had broken a blood-vessel. 

Jane did not faint; did not scream. Her whole heart turned 
sick, and she felt that the end had come. Janey sank down on the 
floor with a faint cry, and hid her face on the sofa. One glimpse 
was sufficient for Betsy. The moment she had taken it, she sub- 
sided into a succession of shrieks ; flew out of the house, and burst 
into that of Mr. Lynn. There she terrified the sober family by 
announcing that Mr. Halliburton was lying with his throat cut. 

Mr. Lynn and Patience hurried in, ordering Anna to remain 
where she was. They saw what was the matter, and placed him 
in a better position ; Patience helping Mrs. Halliburton to sponge 
his face. 

" Shall I get the doctor for thee, friend ? " asked the Quaker of 
Jane. " I shall bring him quicker, maybe, than one of thy lads 
would." 

" Oh ! yes, yes ! " 

" I warned thee not to be sanguine," whispered Patience, when 
Mr. Lynn had gone. " I feared it might be only the deceitfulness 
of the ending." 

The ending ! what a confirmation of Jane's own fears ! She 
turned her eyes despairingly on Patience. 

Mr. Halliburton opened his trembling lips, as though he would 
have spoken. Patience stopped him. 

" Thee must not talk, friend. If thee hast need of anything, can 
thee not make a sign?" 

He gave them to understand that he wanted water. This was 
given to him, and he appeared to be more composed. 

" There is nothing else that I can do just now," observed Patience. 
" I will go back and take thy little girl with me. See her, hiding 
there!" 

Patience did so. Betsy cowered over the fire in the kitchen, and 
the three boys and their mother stood round the dying man. 
" Children ! " he gasped. 

" Oh, Edgar ! do not speak ! " interrupted Jane. 
He smiled as he looked at her, very much as though he knew 
that it did not matter whether he spoke or remained silent. " I 



THE FUNERAL. 



77 



am at the journey's end, Jane ; close to the light. Children," he 
panted at slow intervals, "when I told you my dream, I little 
thought it was only a type of the present reality. I think it was 
sent to me that I might tell it you, for I now see its meaning. 
You are travelling on to that light, as I thought I was — as I have 
been. You will have the same stumbling-blocks to walk over; 
none are exempt from them ; trials, and temptations, and sorrows, 
and drawbacks. But the light is there, ever shining to guide you, 
for it is Heaven. Will you always look up to it? " 

He gathered their hands together, and held them between his. 
The boys, awe-struck, bewildered with terror and grief, could only 
gaze in silence, and listen. 

" The light is God, my children. He is above you, and below 
you, and round about you everywhere. He is ready to help you 
at every step and turn. Make Him your guide ; put your whole 
dependence upon Him, implicitly trust to Him to lighten your 
path, so that you may see to walk in it. He cannot fail. Look 
up to Him, and you will be unerringly guided, though it may be — 
though it probably will be — only step by step. Never lose your 
trust in God, and then rest assured He will conduct you to His own 
bright ending. Jane, let them take it to their hearts ! May God 
bless you, my dear ones ! and bring you to me hereafter ! " 

He ceased, and lay exhausted ; his eyes fondly seeking Jane's, 
her hand clasped in his. Jane's own eyes were dry and burning, 
and she appeared to be unnaturally calm. Gradually, the fading 
eyes closed. In a very short time, the knock of Samuel Lynn was 
heard at the door. He had brought the doctor. William, passing 
his handkerchief over his wet face, went to open it. 

Mr. Parry stepped into the room, and Jane moved from beside 
her husband to give place to him. " He sighed heavily a minute 
or two ago," she whispered. 

The surgeon looked at him. He bent his ear to the open mouth, 
and then gently unbuttoned the waistcoat, and listened for the 
beating of the heart. " His life passed away in that sigh," murmured 
the doctor to Jane. 

It was even so. Edgar Halliburton had gone into the light. 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE FUNERAL. 

Jane looked around her— looked at all the terrors of her situation. 
The first burst of grief over, and a day or two gone on, she could 
only look at it. She did not know which way to turn, or what to 
do. It is true she placed implicit trust in God — in the light 
spoken of by her husband when he was passing away. Through- 
out her life she had borne an ever-present, lively trust in God's 



78 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



unchanging care; and she had incessantly striven to implant the 
same trust in the minds of her children. But in this season of 
dread anxiety, of hopeless bereavement, you will not think less well 
of her for hearing that she did give way to despondency, almost to 
despair. 

From tears for him who had been the dear partner of her life, to 
anxiety for the future of his children — from anxiety for them, to 
pecuniary distress and embarrassment — so passed on her hours 
from Christmas night. Calm she had contrived to be in the pre- 
sence of others ; but it was the calm of an aching heart. She 
dreaded her own reflections. When she rose in the morning she 
said, " How shall I bear up through the day?" and when she went 
to her bed, it would be, "How shall I drag through the night?" 
Tossing, turning, moaning: walking the room in the darkness 
when no eye was upon her; kneeling, almost without hope, to 
pour forth her tribulations to God — who would believe that, in the 
daytime, before others, she could be so apparently serene ? Only 
once did she give way, and that was the day before the funeral. 

Patience sympathised with her in a reasoning sort of way. It 
had been next to impossible for Jane to keep her pecuniary anxiety 
from Patience, who advised and assisted her in making the various 
arrangements. It was necessary to go to work in the most sparing 
manner possible, and it ended in Jane's taking Patience into her 
full confidence. 

"If thee qan but keep a house over thy head, so as to retain thy 
children with thee, thee wilt get along. Do not be cast down." 

" Oh, Patience, that is what I have been thinking about— how 
I am to keep the house together. I do not see that I can do it." 

"The furniture is thine," observed Patience. "Thee might let 
two or three of thy rooms, so as to cover the rent." 

" I have thought all that over and over again to myself," sighed 
Jane. " But, Patience — allowing that the rent were made in that 
way — how are we to live?" 

" Thee must occupy thy time in some way. Thee can sew ! Dost 
thee know dressmaking?" 

" No — only sufficient of it to make my own plain gowns and 
Jane's frocks. As to plain sewing, I could never earn food at it — it 
is so badly paid. And there will be the education of my boys, and 
their clothing." 

"Thee hast anxiety before thee — I see it," said Patience, in a 
grave tone. " Still, I would not have thee be cast down. Thee 
will make thyself ill, and that will not be the way to mend thy 
condition." 

Jane sat down, her hands clasped on her knees, her mind 
viewing her dark troubles. " If I were but clear, I should have 
better hope," she said, lifting her face in its sad sorrow. " Patience, 
we owe half a year's rent ; and there will be the funeral expense^ 
besides. 

" Hast thee no kindred that would aid thee in thy strait?" 



THE FUNERAL. 



79 



Jane shook her head. The only " kindred " that she possessed 
in the whole world was one who had barely enough for his own poor 
wants — her brother Francis. 

" Hast thee no little property to dispose of?" continued Patience. 
" Watches, or things of that kind ? " 

There was her husband's watch. But Jane's pale face crimsoned 
at the idea of parting with it in that manner. It was a good watch, 
and had long ago been promised to William. 

" I can understand thy flush of aversion," said Patience, kindly. 
5 I would not be the one to suggest aught to hurt thy feelings ; but 
thy necessities may leave no alternative." 

A conviction that they would leave none, with her, was already 
stealing over Jane. She possessed a few trinkets herself, not of 
much value, and a little silver. All might have to go, not excepting 
the watch. "Would there be a difficulty in disposing of them, 
Patience ? " she asked aloud. 

" None at all : there is the pawn-shop," said the plain-speaking 
Quakeress. u I do not know what many would do without it. I 
can tell thee that some of the great ones of this city send their 
plate to it on occasion. Thee would not like to go to such a place 
thyself, but thy servant's mother, Elizabeth Carter, is a discreet 
woman ; she would render thee this little service. As I tell thee, if 
thee can only surmount present difficulties, so as to secure a start, 
thee may get on." 

Surmount present difficulties! It seemed to Jane next door to 
an impossibility. She had the merest trifle of money left, was in 
debt, and without means, so far as she saw, of earning even food. 
She paid her last night visit to the room which contained the 
coffin, and went thence up to her bed, to toss the night through on 
her wet pillow, with a burning brow and an aching heart. 

It was a sad funeral to see, and one of the plainest of the plain. 
The clerk of the church, who had condescended to come up to 
escort it — a condescension he did not often vouchsafe to poor 
funerals, for they afforded nothing good to eat and drink — walked 
first, without a hatband. Then came the coffin, covered with a 
pall, and William and Frank behind it. Jane had not sent Gar, 
poor little fellow! She thought he might be better away. That 
was all ; there were no attendants : the clerk, the two boys, the 
coffin, and the men who bore it. 

It was sad to see. The people stopped to look as it went along 
the streets, following with their eyes the poor fatherless children. 
One young man stood aside, raised his hat, and held it in his hand 
until the coffin had passed. But the young man had lived in 
foreign countries, where it is the custom to remain uncovered while 
a corpse is borne by. 

He was buried at St. Martin's Church ; and, singular to say, the 
officiating minister was the Rev. Mr. Peach. Mr. Peach did not 
know who he was interring: he had taken the service for St. 
Martin's rector. William heard his name ; how many times had 



8o MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



he heard his poor father mention the name in connection with 
his hopeful prospects ! He burst into wailing sobs at the thought. 
Mr. Peach glanced off his book to look compassionately at the 
sobbing boy. 

The funeral was over, the last word of the service spoken, the 
first shovel of earth flung rattling on to the coffin. The clerk did 
not pay the compliment of his escort back again ; indeed, there was 
nothing to escort but the two boys. They walked alone, with no 
company but their hatbands. 

In the evening, at dusk, they were gathered together — Jane and 
all the children. Tears seemed to have a respite : they had been 
shed of late all too plentifully. 

" I must speak to you, children," said Jane, lifting her head, and 
breaking the silence. " I may as well speak now, as let the days 
go on first. You are young, but you are old enough to understand 
me. Do you know, my darlings, how very sad our position is ? " 

" In losing papa ? " said Janey, catching her breath. 

" Yes, yes, in losing him," wailed Jane. " For that includes more 
than you suspect. But I wish to allude more particularly to the 
future. My dears, I do not see what is to become of us. We have 
no money : and we have no one to give us any or to lend us any ; 
no one in the wide world." 

The children did not interrupt ; only William moved his chair 
nearer to hers. She looked so young in her widow's cap : nearly 
as young as when, years ago, she had married him who had that 
day been put out of her sight for ever. 

" If we can only keep a roof over our heads," continued Jane, 
speaking very softly from the effort to subdue her threatening emo- 
tion, "we may perhaps struggle on. Perhaps. But it will be 
struggling; and you do not know half that the word implies. We 
may not have enough to eat. We may be cold and hungry — not 
once, but constantly ; and we shall certainly have to encounter and 
endure the slights and humiliations attendant on extreme poverty. 
I do not know that we can retain a home ; for we may, in a week 
or two, be turned from this." 

" But why be turned from this, mamma? " 

" Because there is rent owing, and I have not the means to pay 
it," she answered. " I have written to your uncle Francis, but I do 
not believe he will be able to help me. He " 

"Why can't we go back to London to live?" eagerly interrupted 
little Gar. " It was so nice there ! it was a better home than this." 

" You forget, Gar, that — that " here she almost broke down, 

and had to pause a minute — " that our income there was earned by 
your papa. He would not be there to earn it now. No, my dear 
ones ; I have thought the future over in every way — thought until 
my brain has become confused — and the only possible chance that 
1 can see, of our surmounting difficulties, so as to enable us to exist, 
is by endeavouring to keep this home. Patience suggests that I 
should let part of it. I had already thought of that ; and I shall 



THE FUNERAL. 



endeavour to do so. It may cover the rent and taxes. And I must 
try and do something else that will find us food." 

The children looked perfectly thunderstruck, especially the two 
elder ones, William and Jane. "Do something to find food ! " they 
uttered, aghast. " Mamma, what do you mean?" 

It is so difficult to make children understand these unhappy 
things — those who have been brought up in comfort. Jane sighed, 
and explained further. Little desolate hearts they were who listened 
to her. 

" William," she resumed, " your poor papa's watch was to have 
been yours; but — I scarcely like to tell you — I fear I shall be 
obliged to dispose of it to help our necessities." 

A spasm shot across William's face. But, brave-hearted boy 
that he was, he would not let his mother see his disappointment, 
and looked cheerfully at her. 

" There is one thought that weighs more heavily on my mind 
than all — your education. How I shall manage to continue it I do 
not know. My darlings, I look upon this only in a degree less 
essential to you than food : you know that learning is better than 
house and land. I do not yet see my way clear in any way : it is 
very dark — almost as dark as it can be ; and but for one Friend, I 
should despair." 

" What friend is that, mamma ? Do you mean Patience? 19 

" I mean God," replied Jane. " I know that He is a sure refuge 
to those who trust in Him. In my saddest moments, when I think 
how certain that refuge is, a ray of light flashes over me, bright as 
that glorious light in your papa's dream. Oh, my dear children 1 
perhaps we shall be helped to struggle on ! " 

"Who will buy us new clothes?" cried Frank, dropping upon 
another phase of the difficulty. Jane sighed : it was all terribly 
indistinct. 

" In all the tribulation that will probably come upon us, the 
humiliations, the necessities, we must strive for patience to bear 
them. You do not yet understand the meaning of the term, to 
bear j but you will learn it all too soon. You must bear not only 
for your own sakes, because it is your lot, and you cannot go from 
it ; not only for mine, but chiefly because it is the will of God. This 
affliction could not have come upon us unless God had permitted it, 
and I am quite sure, therefore, that it is in some way sent for our 
good. We shall not be utterly miserable if we can keep together in 
our house. You will aid me in it, will you not? " 

" In what way, mamma? " they eagerly asked, as if wishing to 
begin something then. " What can we do? " 

"You can aid me by being dutiful and obedient; by giving me 
no unnecessary anxiety or trouble ; by cheerfully making the best 
of our privations; and you can strive to retain what you have 
already learnt by going diligently over your lessons together. All 
this will aid and comfort me." 

William's tears burst forth, and he laid his head on his mother's 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 6 



82 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



lap. " Oh, mamma dear, I will try and do for you all that I can," 
he sobbed. " I will indeed." 

" Take comfort, my boy," she whispered, leaning tenderly over 
him. " Remember that your last act to your father was a loving 
sacrifice, in giving to him the orange that you would have enjoyed. 
I marked it, William. My darling children, let us all strive to bear 
on steadfastly to that far-off light, ever looking unto God." 



CHAPTER XVI. 

TROUBLE. 

A WEEK elapsed, subsequent to the burial of Mr. Halliburton. By 
that time Jane had looked fully into the best and worst of her con- 
dition, and had, so to say, organised her plans. By the disposal of 
the watch, with what little silver they possessed, and ornaments of 
her own, she had been enabled to discharge the expenses of the 
funeral and other small debts, and to retain a trifle in hand for 
present wants. 

On the last day of the week, Saturday, she received an applica- 
tion for the rent. A stylish-looking stripling, of some nineteen 
years, with light eyes and fair hair, called from Mr. Dare to demand 
it. Jane told him she could not pay him then, but would write and 
explain to Mr. Dare. Upon which the gentleman, whose manners 
were haughtily condescending, turned on his heel and left the house, 
not deigning to say good morning. As he was swinging out at the 
gate, Patience, coming home from market with a basket in her 
hand, met him. " How dost thee ?" said she to him in salutation. 
But there was no response from the other, except that his head went 
a shade higher. 

" Do you know who that is? " inquired Jane, afterwards. 

" Of a surety. It is young Anthony Dare." 

" He has not pleasing manners." 

" Not to us. There is not a more self-arrogant youth in the town. 
But his private character is not well spoken of." 

Jane sat down to write to Mr. Dare. Her brother Francis, to 
whom she had explained her situation, had promised her the rent 
for the half-year due, sixteen pounds, by the middle of February. 
He could not let her have it before that period, he said, but she 
might positively count upon it then. She begged Mr. Dare to 
accord her the favour of waiting until then. Sealing her note, she 
sent it to him. 

On the Monday following, all was in readiness to let; and Jane 
was full of hope, looking for the advent of lodgers. The best par- 
lour and the two best bedrooms had been vacated, and were in 
order. Jane slept now with her little girl, and the boys had mat- 



TROUBLE. 



33 



tresses laid down for them on the floor at the top of the house. 
They were to make the study their sitting-room from henceforth ; 
and a card in the window displayed the announcement " Lodgings." 
The more modern word " apartments " had not then come into 
fashion at Helstonleigh. 

Patience came in after breakfast with a piece of grey merino in 
her hand. 

" Would thee like to make a frock for Anna? " asked she of Mrs. 
Halliburton. " Sarah Locke does them for her mostly, for it is 
work that I am not clever at ; but Sarah sends me word she is too 
full of work this week to undertake it. I heard thee say thee made 
Janey's frocks. If thee can do this, and earn half-a-crown, thee 
art welcome. It is what I should pay Sarah." 

Jane took the merino in thankfulness. It was as a ray of hope, 
come to light up her heart. But the instant before Patience entered, 
she was wishing that something could arrive for her to do, never 
supposing that it would arrive. And now it had come ! — and would 
bring her in two-and-sixpence ! " Two-and-sixpence ! " we may 
feel inclined to echo, in undisguised contempt for the trifle. Ay ! 
but we may never have known the yearning want of two-and-six- 
pence, or of ten-and-sixpence either ! 

Jane cut out the skirt by a pattern frock, and sat down to make 
it, her mind ruminating on the future. The children were at their 
lessons, round the table. " I have just two pounds seventeen and 
sixpence left," deliberated Jane. " This half-crown will make it 
three pounds. I wonder how long we can live upon that? We 
have good clothes, and for the present the boys' boots are good. 
If I can let the rooms we shall have the rent, so that food is the 
chief thing to look to, We must spin the money out: we must 
live upon bread and potatoes and a little milk, until something 
comes in. I wonder if five shilling a week would pay for bare food, 
and for coals ? I fear- " 

Jane's dreams were interrupted. The front gate was swung open, 
and two people, men or gentlemen, approached the house door and 
knocked. Their movements were so quick that Jane caught only a 
glimpse of them. " See who it is, will you, William? " 

She heard them walk in and ask if she was at home. Putting 
down her work, she shook the threads from her black dress and 
went out to them, William returning to his lessons. 

The visitors were standing in the passage — one well-dressed man 
and one shabby one. The former made a civil demand for the half- 
year's rent due. Jane replied that she had written to Mr. Dare on 
the previous Saturday, explaining things to him, and asking him to 
wait a short time. 

" Mr. Dare cannot wait," was the rejoinder of the applicant, still 
speaking civilly. " You must allow me to remark, ma'am, that you 
are strangers to the town, that you have paid no rent since you 
entered the house " 

" We believed it was the custom to pay half-yearly, as Mr. Dare 



84 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



did not apply for it at the Michaelmas quarter," interrupted Jane. 
" We should have paid then, had he asked for it," 
! ' " At any rate, it is not paid," was the reply. " And — I am sorry, 
ma'am, to be under the necessity of leaving this man in possession 
until you do pay ! " 

They walked deliberately into the best parlour ; and Jane, amidst 
a rushing feeling of despair that turned her heart to sickness, knew 
that a seizure had been put into the house. 

As she stood in her bewilderment, Patience entered by the back 
door, the way she always did enter, and caught a glimpse of the 
shabby man. She drew Jane into the kitchen. 

" What does that man do here ? " she inquired. 

For answer Jane sank into a chair and burst into sobs so violent 
as to surprise the calm Quakeress. She turned and shut the door. 

" Hush thee ! Now hush thee ! Thy children will hear and be 
terrified. Art thee behind with thy taxes ? " 

For some minutes Jane could not reply. "Not for taxes," she 
said ; " they are paid. Mr. Dare has put him in for the rent." 

Patience revolved the news in considerable astonishment. " Nay, 
but I think thee must be in error. Thomas Ashley would not do 
such a thing." 

" He has done it," sobbed Jane. 

" It is not in accordance with his character. He is a humane 
and considerate man. Verily I grieve for thee ! That man is 
not an agreeable inmate of a house. We had him in ours last 
year 1 " 

" You ! " uttered Jane, surprise penetrating even to her own grief. 
"You!" 

" They force us to pay church-rates," explained Patience. " We 
have a scruple to do so, believing the call unjust. For years 
Samuel Lynn had paid the claim, to avert consequences ; but last 
year he and many more Friends stood out against it. The result 
was, that that man, now in thy parlour, was put into our house. 
The amount claimed was one pound nine shillings ; and they took 
out of our house, and sold, goods which had cost us eleven pounds, 
and which were equal to new." 

" Oh, Patience, tell me what I had better do ! " implored Jane, 
reverting to her own trouble. "If we are turned out and our 
things sold, we must go to the workhouse. We cannot lie in the 
streets." 

" Indeed, I feel incompetent to advise thee. Had thee not better 
see Anthony Dare, and try thy persuasion that he would remove 
the seizure, and wait ? " 

" I will go to him at once," feverishly returned Jane. " You will 
allow Janey to remain with you, Patience, while I do so?" 

"Of a surety I will. She " 

At that moment the children burst into the kitchen, one after the 
other. " Mamma, who is that shabby-looking man come into the 
study? He has seated himself right in front of the fire, and is 



TROUBLE. 



S 5 



knocking it about. And the other is looking at the tables and 
chairs." 

It was Frank who spoke ; impetuous Frank. Mrs. Halliburton 
cast a despairing look around her, and Patience drew their attention. 

u That man is here on business," she said to them. " You must 
not be rude to him, or he will be ten times more rude to you. The 
other will soon be gone. Your mother is going abroad for an 
hour; perhaps when she returns she will rid the house of him. 
Jane, child, thee can come with me and take thy dinner with 
Anna." 

Mrs. Halliburton waited until the better-looking of the two men 
was gone, and then started. It was a raw, cold day — what some 
people call a black frost. Black and gloomy it all looked to her, 
outwardly and inwardly, as she traversed the streets to the office of 
Mr. Dare. Patience had directed her, and the plate on the door, 
" Mr. Dare, Solicitor," showed her the right house. She stepped 
inside that door, which stood open, and knocked at one to the right 
of the passage. " Clerks' room " was inscribed upon it. 

" Come in." 

Three or four clerks were in it. In one of them she recognized 
him who had just left her house. The other clerks appeared to 
defer to him, and called him " Mr. Stubbs." Jane, giving her name, 
said she wished to see Mr. Dare, and the request was conveyed to 
an inner room. It brought forth young Anthony. 

" My father is busy and cannot see you," was his salutation. " I 
can hear anything you may have to say. It will be the same 
thing." 

" Thank you," replied Jane, in a courteous tone, very different 
from his. " But I would prefer to see Mr. Dare." 
"He is engaged, I say," sharply repeated Anthony. 
" I will wait, then. I must see him." 

Anthony Dare stalked back again. Jane, seeing a bench against 
the wall, sat down. It was about half-past twelve when she arrived 
there, and when the clock struck two, there she was still. Several 
clients, during that time, had come and gone ; they were admitted 
to Mr. Dare, but she sat on, neglected. At two o'clock Anthony 
came through the room with his hat on. He appeared to be 
going out. 

"What! are you here still? "he exclaimed, in genuine or in 
affected surprise ; never, in his ill manners, removing his hat — he 
of whom it was his delight to hear it said that he was the most 
complete gentleman in Helstonleigh. " I assure you it is not of the 
least use your waiting. Mr. Dare will not be able to see you." 

" Mr. Dare can surely spare me a minute when he has done with 
others." 

" He cannot to-day. Can you not say to me what you want 
to say ? " 

" Indeed I must see Mr. Dare himself. I will wait on, if you will 
allow me, hoping to do so." 



86 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Anthony Dare vouchsafed no reply, and went out. One or two of 
the clerks looked round. They appeared not to understand why 
she sat on so persistently, or why Mr. Dare refused to see her. 

In about an hour's time the inner door opened. A tall man, with 
a bold, free countenance, looked into the room. Supposing it to be 
Mr. Dare, Jane rose and approached him. " Will you allow me a 
few minutes' conversation ? " she asked. " I presume you are Mr. 
Dare?" 

He put up his hands as if to fence her off. " I have no time, 
I have no time," he reiterated, and shut the door in her face. 
Jane sat down again on the bench. " Stubbs, I want you," came 
forth from Mr. Dare's voice, as he opened the door an inch to 
speak it. 

Stubbs went in, remained a few minutes, and then returned, put 
on his hat, and walked out. His departure was the signal for 
considerable relaxation in the office duties. "When the cat's 
away — " you know the rest. Yawning, stretching, whispering, 
and laughing supervened. One of the clerks took from his pocket 
a paper of the biscuits called " Union" in Helstonleigh, and began 
eating them. Another pulled out a bottle, and solaced himself with 
some of its contents — whatever they might be. Suddenly the man 
with the biscuits got off his stool, and offered them to Mrs. Halli- 
burton. Her pale, sad face may have prompted his good-nature 
to the act. 

i " You have waited a good while, ma'am, and perhaps have lost 
your dinner through it," he said. 

Jane took one of them. " You are very kind. Thank you," she 
faintly said. 

i But not a crumb of it could she swallow. She had taken a slice 
of dry toast for her breakfast that morning, with half a cup of milk ; 
and it was a long while since she had had a sufficiency of food at 
any meal. She felt weak, sick, faint ; but anxiety and suspense 
were at work within, parching her throat, destroying her appetite. 
She held the biscuit in her ringers, resting on her lap, and, in spite 
of her efforts, the rebellious tears forced themselves to her eyes. 
Raising her hand, she quietly let fall her widow's veil. 

A poor-looking man came in, and counted out eight shillings, 
laying them upon the desk. " I couldn't make up the other two 
this week ; I couldn't, indeed," he said, with trembling eagerness. 
" I'll bring twelve next week, please to say." 

" Mind you do," responded one of the clerks ; " or you know what 
will be in store for you." 

The man shook his head. He probably did know ; and, in going 
out, was nearly knocked over by a handsome lad of seventeen, who 
was running in. Very handsome were his features ; but they were 
marred by the free expression which characterized Mr. Dare's. 

" I say, is the governor in ? " cried he, out of breath. 

"Yes, sir. Lord Hawkesley's with him." 

"The deuce take Lord Hawkesley, then ! " returned the young 



TROUBLE. 



87 



gentleman. " Where's Stubbs ? I want my week's money, and I 
can't wait. Walker, I say, where's Stubbs ? " 
" Stubbs is gone out, sir." 

" What a bother ! Halloa ! here's some money ! What is this ? w 
continued the speaker, catching up the eight shillings. 

" It is some that has just been paid in, Master Herbert." 

" That's all right then," said he, slipping five of them into bis 
jacket pocket. " Tell Stubbs to put it down as my week's money." 

He tore off. Jane sat on, wondering what she was to do. There 
appeared to be little probability that she would be admitted to Mr. 
Dare ; and yet, how could she go home as she came — hopeless — to 
the presence of that man ? No ; she must wait still ; wait until the 
last. She might catch a word with Mr. Dare as he was leaving. 
Jane could not help thinking his behaviour very bad in refusing to 
see her. 

The office was being lighted when Mr. Stubbs returned. One of 
the clerks pointed to the three shillings with his pen. " Kinnersley 
has brought eight shillings. He will make it twelve next week. 
Couldn't manage the ten this, he says." 

" Where are the eight shillings ? " asked Stubbs. " I see only 
three." 

" Oh, Master Herbert came in, and took off five. He said you 
were to put it down as his week's money." 

" He'll take a little too much some day, if he's not checked," was 
the cynical reply of the senior clerk. " However, it's no business of 
mine." 

He put the three shillings in his own desk, and made an entry in 
a book. After that, he went in to Mr. Dare, who was now alone. 
A large room, handsomely fitted up. Mr. Dare's table was near one 
of the windows : a desk, at which Anthony sometimes sat, was at 
the other. Mr. Dare looked up. 

" I could not do anything, sir," said Stubbs. " The other party 
will listen to no proposal at all. They say they'll throw it into 
Chancery first. An awful rage they are in." 

"Tush!" said Mr. Dare. "Chancery, indeed! They'll tell 
another tale in a day or two. Has Kinnersley been in ? " 

" Kinnersley has brought eight shillings, and promises to bring 
twelve next Monday. Master Herbert carried off five of them, and 
left word it was for his week's money." 

"A smart blade!" cried Mr. Dare, apostrophizing his son with 
personal pride. " 6 Take it when I can,' is his motto. He'll make 
a good lawyer, Stubbs." 

" Very good," acquiesced Stubbs. 

"Is that woman gone yet ? " 

" No, sir. My opinion is, she means to wait until she sees you." 
" Then send her in at once, and let's get it over," thundered Mr. 
Dare. 

In what lay his objection to see her ? A dread lest she should put 
forth their relationship as a plea for his clemency ? If so, he was 



83 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



destined to be agreeably disappointed. Jane did not allude to it ; 
would not allude to it. After that interview held with Mrs. Dare, 
some three or four months before, she had dropped all remembrance 
of the connection : even the children did not know of it. She only 
solicited Mr. Dare's leniency now, as any other stranger might have 
solicited it. Little chance was there of Mr. Dare's acceding to her 
prayer : he and his wife both wanted H elstonleigh to be free of the 
Halliburtons. 

"It will be utter ruin," she urged. "It will turn us, beggars, into 
the streets. Mr. Dare, I promise you the rent by the middle of 
February. Unless it were certain, my brother would not have 
promised it to me. Surely you may accord me this short time." 

" Ma'am, I cannot — that is, Mr. Ashley cannot. It was a repre- 
hensible piece of carelessness on my part to suffer the rent to go on 
for half a year, considering that you were strangers. Mr. Ashley 
will look to me to see him well out of it." 

" There is sufficient furniture in my house, new furniture, to pay 
what is owing three times over." 

"May be, as it stands in it. Things worth forty pounds in a 
house, won't fetch ten at a sale." 

" That is an additional reason why I— — " 

" Now, my good lady," interrupted Mr. Dare, with imperative 
civility, " one word is as good as a thousand ; and that word I have 
said. I cannot withdraw the seizure, except on the receipt of the 
rent and costs. Pay them, and I shall be most happy to do it. If 
you stop here all- night I can give you no other answer ; and my 
time is valuable." 

He glanced at the door as he spoke. Jane took the hint, and 
passed out of it. As much by the tone, as by the words, she 
gathered that there was no hope whatever. 

The streets were bright with gas as she hurried along, her head 
bent, her veil over her face, her tears falling silently. But when 
she left the town behind her, and approached a lonely part of the 
road where no eye was on her, no ear near her, then the sobs burst 
forth uncontrolled. 

" No eye on her ? no ear near her ? " Ay, but there was ! There 
was one Eye, one Ear, which never closes. And as Jane's dreadful 
trouble resolved itself into a cry for help to Him who ever listens, 
there seemed to come a feeling of peace, of trust, into her soul. 



( 89 ) 



CHAPTER XVII 

THOMAS ASHLEY. 

Frank met her as she went in. It was dark; but she kept her 
veil down. 

" Oh, mamma, that's the most horrible man ! " he began, in a 
whisper. " You know the cheese you brought in on Saturday, that 
we might not eat our bread quite dry; well, he has eaten it up, 
every morsel, and half a loaf of bread! And he has burnt the 
whole scuttleful of coal! And he swore because there was no 
meat ; and he swore at us because we would not go to the public- 
house and buy him some beer. He said we were to buy it and pay 
for it." 

" I said you would not allow us to go, mamma," interrupted 
William, who now came up. " I told him that if he wanted beer 
he must go and get it for himself. I spoke civilly, you know, not 
rudely. He went into such a passion, and said such things ! It is 
a good thing Jane was out." 

" Where is Gar ? " she asked. 

" Gar was frightened at the man, and the tobacco- smoke made 
him sick, and he cried ; and then he lay down on the floor, and 
went to sleep." 

She felt sick. She drew her two boys into the parlour — dark 
there, except for the lamp in the road, which shone in. Pressing 
them in her arms, completely subdued by the miseries of her situa- 
tion, she leaned her forehead upon William's shoulder, and burst 
once more into a most distressing flood of tears. 

They were alarmed. They cried with her. " Oh, mamma ! what 
is it ? Why don't you order the man to go away ? " 

" My boys, I must tell you ; I cannot keep it from you," she 
sobbed. " That man is put here to stop, until I can pay the rent. 
If I cannot pay it, our things will be taken and sold." 

William's pulses and heart alike beat, but he was silent. Frank 
spoke. " Whatever shall we do, mamma ? " 

" I do not know," she wailed. " Perhaps God will help us. There 
is no one else to do it." 

Patience came in, for about the sixth time, to see whether Jane 
had returned, and how the mission had sped. They called her into 
the cold ? dark room. Jane gave her the history of the whole day, 
and Patience listened in astonishment. 

" I cannot but believe that Thomas Ashley must have been mis- 
informed," said she, presently. " But that you are strangers in the 
place, I should say you had an enemy who may have gone to him 
with a tale that thee can pay, but will not. Still, even in that case, 



go MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



it would be unlike Thomas Ashley. He is a kind and a good man ; 
not a harsh one." 

j " Mr. Dare told me he was expressly acting for Mr. Ashley." 

"Well, I say that I cannot understand it," repeated Patience. 
" It is not like Thomas Ashley. I will give thee an instance of his 
disposition and general character. There was a baker rented under 
him, living in a house of Thomas Ashley's. The baker got behind 
with his rent ; other bakers were more favoured than he ; but he 
kept on at his trade, hoping times would mend. Year by year he 
failed in his rent — Thomas Ashley, mark thee, still paying him 
regularly for the bread supplied to his family. 1 Why do you not 
stop his bread-money ? ' asked one, who knew of this, of Thomas 
Ashley. 6 Because he is poor, and he looks to my weekly money, 
with that of others, to buy his flour,' was Thomas Ashley's answer. 
Well, when he owed several years' rent, the baker died, and the 
widow was going to move. Anthony Dare hastened to Thomas 
Ashley. 6 Which day shall I levy a distress upon the goods ? ? 
asked he. 'Not at all,' replied Thomas Ashley. And he went to 
the widow, and told her the rent was forgiven, and the goods were 
her own, to take with her when she left. That is Thomas Ashley." 

Jane bent her head in thought. " Is Mr. Lynn at home?" she 
asked. " I should like to speak to him." 

"He has had his tea and has gone back to the manufactory, but 
he will be home soon after eight. I will keep Jane till bedtime. 
She and Anna are happy over their puzzles." 

" Patience, am I obliged to find that man in food ? " 

" That thee art. It is the law." 

The noise made by Patience in going away, brought the man 
forth from the study, a candle in his hand. " When is that mother 
of yours coming back ? " he roared out to the boys. Jane advanced. 
"Oh, you are here ! " he uttered, wrathfully. " What are you going 
to give me to eat and drink ? A pretty thing this is, to have an 
officer in, and starve him ! " 

" You shall have tea directly. You shall have what we have," she 
answered, in a low tone. 

The kettle was boiling on the study fire. Jane lighted a fire in 
the parlour, and she sent Frank out for butter. The man smoked 
over the study fire, as he had done all the afternoon, and Gar slept 
beside him, on the floor, but William went now and brought the 
child away. Jane sent the man his tea in, and the loaf and butter. 

The fare did not please him. He came to the parlour and said 
he must have meat ; he had had none for his dinner. 

" I cannot give it you," replied Jane. " We are eating dry toast 
and bread, as you may see. I sent butter to you." 

He stood there for some minutes, giving vent to his feelings in 
rather strong language ; and then he went back to revenge himself 
upon the butter for the want of meat. Jane laid her hand upon 
her beating throat : beating with its tribulation. 

Between eight and nine Jane went to the next door, Samuel 



THOMAS ASHLEY. 



91 



Lynn had come home for the evening, and was sitting at the table 
in his parlour, helping the two little girls with a geographical 
puzzle, which had baffled their skill. He was a little man, quiet in 
movement, pale and sedate in feature, dry and unsympathising in 
manner. 

" Thee art in trouble, friend, I hear," he said, placing a chair for 
Jane, while Patience came and called the children away. " It is 
sad for thee." 

" In great trouble," answered Jane. " I came in to ask if you 
would serve me in my trouble. I fancy, perhaps, you can do so if 
you will." 

" In what way, friend ? " 

"Would you interest yourself for me with Mr. Ashley? He 
might listen to you. Were he assured that the money would be 
forthcoming in February, I think he might agree to give me time." 

" Friend, I cannot do this," was the reply of the Quaker. " My 
relations with Thomas Ashley are confined to business matters, 
and I cannot overstep them. To interfere with his private affairs 
would not be seemly ; neither might he deem it so. I am but his 
servant, remember." 

The words fell upon her heart as ice. She believed it her only 
chance — some one interceding for her with Mr. Ashley. She 
said so. 

" Why not go to him thyself, friend ? " 

" Would he hear me ? " hastily asked Jane. " I am a stranger 
to him." 

"Thee art his tenant. As to hearing thee, that he certainly 
would. Thomas Ashley is of a courteous nature. The poorest 
workman in our manufactory, going to the master with a grievance, 
is sure of a patient hearing. But if thee ask me would he grant thy 
petition, there I cannot inform thee. Patience opines that thee, or 
thy intentions, may have been falsely represented to him. I never 
knew him resort to harsh measures before." 

"When would be the best time to see him? Is it too late 
to-night ? " 

"To-night would not be a likely time, friend, to trouble him. 
He has not long returned from a day's journey, and is, no doubt, 
cold and tired. I met James Meeking driving down as I came 
home ; he had left the master at his house. They have been out 
on business connected with the manufactory. Thee might see him 
in the morning, at his breakfast hour." 

Jane rose and thanked the Quaker. " I will certainly go," she 
said. 

"There is no need to say to him that I suggested it to thee, 
friend. Go as of thy own accord." 

Jane went home with her little girl. Their undesirable visitor 
looked out at the study door, and began a battle about supper. It 
ought to comprise, in his opinion, meat and beer. He insisted that 
one of the boys should go out for beer. Jane steadily refused. 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



She was tempted to tell him that the children of a gentleman were 
not despatched to public-houses on such errands. She offered him 
the money to go and get some for himself. 

It aroused his anger. He accused her of wanting to get him out 
of the house by stratagem, that she might lock him out ; and he 
flung the pence back amongst them. Janey screamed, and Gar 
burst out crying. As Patience had said, he was not a pleasant 
inmate. Jane ran upstairs, and the children followed her. 

" Where is he to sleep ? " inquired William. 

It is a positive fact that, until that moment, Jane had forgotten 
all about the sleeping. Of course he must sleep there, though she 
had not thought of it. Amidst the poor in her father's parish in 
London, Jane had seen many phases of distress; but with this 
particular annoyance she had never been brought into contact. 
However, it had to be done. 

What a night that was for her? She paced her room nearly 
throughout it, with quiet movement, Janey sleeping placidly — now 
giving way to all the dark appearances of her position, to uncon- 
trollable despondency; now kneeling and crying for help in her 
heartfelt anguish. 

Morning came; the black frost had gone, and the sun shone. 
After breakfast Jane put on her shawl and bonnet. 

Mr. Ashley's residence was very near to them — only a little higher 
up the road. It was a large house, almost a mansion, surrounded 
by a beautiful garden. Jane had passed it two or three times, and 
thought what a nice place it was. She repeatedly saw Mr. Ashley 
walk past her house, as he went to or came from the manufactory : 
she was not a bad reader of countenances, and she judged him to 
be a thorough gentleman. His face was a refined one, his manner 
pleasant. 

She tound that she had gone at an untoward time. Standing 
before the hall door was Mr. Ashley's open carriage, the groom 
standing at the horse's head. Even as Jane ascended the steps 
the door opened, and Mr. and Mrs. Ashley were coming forth. 
Feeling terribly distressed and disappointed, she scarcely defined why, 
Jane accosted the former, and requested a few minutes' interview. 

Mr. Ashley looked at her. A fair young widow, evidently a lady. 
He did not recognize her. He had seen her before, but she was in 
a different style of dress now. 

Mr. Ashley raised his hat as he replied to her. "Is your business 
with me pressing ? I was just going out." 

" Indeed it is pressing," she said ; "or I would not think of 
asking to detain you." 

"Then walk in," he returned. "A little delay will not make 
much difference." 

Opening the door of a small sitting-room, apparently his own, 
he invited her to a seat near the fire. As she took it, Jane untied 
the crape strings of her bonnet and threw back her heavy veil. 
She was as white as a sheet, and felt choking. 



THOMAS ASHLEY. 



93 



" I fear you are ill," Mr. Ashley remarked. " Can I get you 
anything ? " 

" I shall be better in a minute, thank you," she panted. " Perhaps 
you do not know me, sir. I live in your house, a little lower down. 
I am Mrs. Halliburton." 

" Oh, I beg your pardon, madam ; I did not remember you at 
first. I have seen you in passing." 

His manner was perfectly kind and open. Not in the least like 
that of a landlord who had just put a distress into his tenant's 
house. 

" I have come here to beseech your mercy," she began in agita- 
tion. " I have not the rent now, but if you will consent to wait 
until the middle of February, it will be ready. Oh, Mr. Ashley, do 
not oppress me for it ! Think of my situation." 

" I never oppressed any one in my life," was the quiet rejoinder 
of Mr. Ashley, spoken, however, in a somewhat surprised tone. 

" Sir, it is oppression. I beg your pardon for saying so. I 
promise that the rent shall be paid to you in a few weeks : to force 
my furniture from me now, is oppression." 

" I do not understand you," returned Mr. Ashley. 

" To sell my furniture under the distress will be utter ruin to 
me and my children," she continued. " We have no resource, no 
home ; we shall have to lie in the streets, or die. Oh, sir, do not 
take it ! " 

" But you are agitating yourself unnecessarily, Mrs. Halliburton. 
I have no intention of taking your furniture." 

" No intention, sir ! " she echoed. " You have put in a distress." 

" Put in a what ? " cried he, in unbounded surprise. 

" A distress. The man has been in since yesterday morning." 

Mr. Ashley looked at her a few moments in silence. " Did the 
man tell you where he came from ? " 

" It was Mr. Dare who put him in — acting for you. I went to 
Mr. Dare, and he kept me waiting nearly five hours in his outer 
office before he would see me. When he did see me, he declined to 
hear me. All he would say was, that I must pay the rent or he 
should take the furniture : acting for Mr. Ashley." 

A strangely severe expression darkened Mr. Ashley's face. 
" First of all, my dear lady, let me assure you that I knew nothing 
of this, or it should never have been done. I am surprised at Mr. 
Dare." 

Could she fail to trust that open countenance — that benevolent 
eye? Her hopes rose high within her. "Sir, will you withdraw 
the man, and give me time ? " 

" I will." 

The revulsion of feeling, from despair and grief, was too great. 
She burst into tears, having struggled against them in vain. 
Mr. Ashley rose and looked from the window ; and presently she 
grew calmer. When he sat down again she gave him the outline 
of her situation; of her present dilemma; of her hopes — poor 



94 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



hopes that they were ! — of getting a scanty living through letting 
her rooms and doing some sewing, or by other employment. " Were 
I to lose my furniture, it would take from me this only chance," 
she concluded. 

" You shall not lose it through me," warmly spoke Mr. Ashley. 
"The man shall be dismissed from your house in half an hour's 
time." 

" Oh, thank you, thank you ! " she breathed, rising to leave. " I 
have not been able to supply him with great things in the shape of 
food, and he uses very bad language in the hearing of my children. 
Thank you, Mr. Ashley." 

He shook hands with her cordially, and attended her to the hall 
door. Mrs. Ashley, a pretty, lady-like woman, somewhat stately 
in general, stood there still. Well wrapped in velvet and furs, she 
did not care to return to the warm rooms. Jane said a few words 
of apology for detaining her, and passed on. 

Mr. Ashley turned back to his room, and drew his desk towards 
him, and began to write. His wife followed him. " Who was that, 
Thomas?" 

" Mrs. Halliburton : our widowed tenant, next door to Samuel 
Lynn's. You remember I told you of meeting the funeral. Two 
little boys were following alone." 

" Oh, poor little things ! yes. What did she want ? " 

Mr. Ashley made no reply : he was writing rapidly. The note, 
when finished, was sealed and directed to Mr. Dare. He then 
helped his wife into the carriage, took the reins, and sat down 
beside her. The groom took his place in the seat behind, and 
Mr. Ashley drove round the gravel drive, out at the gate, and 
turned towards Helstonleigh. 

" Thomas, you are going the wrong way ! " said Mrs. Ashley, in 
consternation. " What are you thinking of ? " 

" I shall turn directly," he answered. There was a severe look 
upon his face, and he drove very fast, by which signs Mrs. Ashley 
knew something had put him out. She inquired, and he gave her 
the outline of what he had just heard. 

"How could Anthony Dare act so?" involuntarily exclaimed 
Mrs. Ashley. 

" I don't know. I shall give him a piece of my mind to-morrow 
more plainly than he will like. This is not the first time he has 
attempted a rascally action under cover of my name." 

" Shall you lose the rent ? " 

" I think not, Margaret. She said not, and she carries sincerity 
in her face. I am sure I shall not lose it, if she can help it. If I 
do, I must, that's all. I never yet added to the trouble of those in 
distress, and I never will." 

He pulled up at Mrs. Halliburton's house, which she had just 
reached also. The groom came to the horse, and Mr. Ashley 
entered. The " man " was comfortably stretched before the study 
fire, smoking his short pipe. Up he jumped when he saw Mr. 



THOMAS ASHLEY. 



95 



Ashley, and smuggled his pipe into his pocket. His offensive 
manner had changed to humble servility. 

"Do you know me ? " shortly inquired Mr. Ashley. 

The man pulled his hair in token of respect. " Certainly, sir. 
Mr. Ashley." 

"Very well. Carry this note to Mr. Dare." 

The man received the note in his hand, and held it there, ap- 
parently in some perplexity. " May I leave, sir, without the 
authority of Mr. Dare ? " 

" I thought you said you knew me," was Mr. Ashley's reply, 
haughty displeasure in his tone. 

" I beg pardon, sir," replied the man, pulling his hair again, and 
making a movement of departure. " I suppose I bain't a-coming 
back, sir ? " 

" You are not." 

He took up a small bundle tied in a blue handkerchief, which he 
had brought with him and appeared excessively careful of, caught 
at his battered hat, ducked his head to Mr. Ashley, and left the 
house, the note held between his fingers. Would you like to see 
what it contained ? 

" Dear Sir, — I find that you have levied a distress on Mrs. Halli- 
burton's goods for rent due to me. That you should have done 
so without my authority astonishes me much; that you should 
have done so at all, knowing what you do of my principles, 
astonishes me more. I send the man back to you. The costs of 
this procedure you will either set down to me, or pay out of your 
own pocket, whichever you may deem the more just ; but you will 
not charge them to Mrs. Halliburton. Have the goodness to call 
upon me to-morrow morning in East Street. 

"Thomas Ashley." 

"He will not trouble you again, Mrs. Halliburton," observed Mr. 
Ashley, with a pleasant smile, as he went out to his carriage. 

Jane stood at her window. She watched the man go towards 
Helstonleigh with the note ; she watched Mr. Ashley step into his 
seat, turn his horse, and drive up the road. But all things were 
looking misty to her, for her eyes were dim. 

" God did hear me," was her earnest thought. 



96 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES, 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

HONEY FAIR. 

HELSTONLEIGH abounded with glove manufactories. It is a trade 
that may be said to be a blessing to the localities where it is carried 
on, since it is one of the very few employments that furnish to the 
poor female population easy, clean, and profitable work at their own 
ho?nes. The evils arising to women who go out to work in factories 
have been rehearsed over and over again ; and the chief evil — we 
will put others out of sight — is, that it takes the married woman from 
her home and her family. Her young children drag themselves up 
in her absence, for worse or for better ; alone they must do it, for 
she has to be away, toiling for daily bread. There is no home 
privacy, no home comfort, no home happiness ; the factory is their 
life, and other interests give way to it. But with glove-making the 
case is different. While the husbands are abroad at the manufac- 
tories pursuing their day's work, the wives and elder daughters are 
earning money easily and pleasantly at home. The work is clean 
and profitable ; all that is necessary for its accomplishment being 
common skill as a seamstress. 

Not five minutes' walk from Mrs. Halliburton's house, nearer to 
Helstonleigh, a turning out of the main road led you to quite a 
colony of workwomen — gloveresses, as they are termed in the local 
phraseology. It was a long, wide lane ; the houses, some larger, 
some smaller, built on either side of it. A road quite wide enough 
for health, if the inhabitants had only kept it as it ought to have 
been kept : but they did not do so. The highway was made a 
common receptacle for refuse. It was so much easier to open the 
kitchen door (most of the houses were entered at once by the 
kitchen), and to " chuck" things out, fiele-niele, rather than be at the 
trouble of conveying to the proper receptacle, the dust-heap at 
the back. Ashes, cabbage-leaves, bones, egg-shells, potato-peelings, 
heads and tails of herrings, choked up the gutters in front ; a dead 
dog or cat being often added by way of variety. Occasionally a 
solitary policeman would come, picking his way through the dirt, 
and order it to be removed ; upon which, some slight improvement 
would be visible for a day or two. The name of this charming place 
was Honey Fair; though, in truth, it was redolent of nothing so 
pleasant as honey. 

Of the occupants of these houses, the husbands and elder sons 
were all glove operatives ; several of them in the manufactory of Mr. 
Ashley. The wives sewed the gloves at home. Many a similar 
colony to Honey Fair was there in Helstonleigh, but in hearing of 
one set you hear of all. The trade was extensively pursued. A very 
few of the manufactories were of the large extent that was Mr. 



HONEY FAIR. 



97 



Ashley's ; and they gradually descended in size, until some comprised 
not half a score workmen, all told ; but whose masters alike dignified 
themselves by the title of " manufacturer." 

There flourished a shop in the general line in Honey Fair, kept by 
a Mrs. Buffle, a great gossip. Her husband, a well-meaning, steady 
little man, mincing in his speech and gait, scrupulously neat and 
clean in his attire, and thence called " the dandy," was chief work- 
man at one of the smallest of the establishments. He had three men 
and two boys under him ; and so he styled himself the " foreman." 
No one knew half so much of the affairs of their neighbours as did 
Mrs. Buffle ; no one could tell of the ill-doings and shortcomings of 
Honey Fair as she could. Many a gloveress girl, running in at dusk 
for a halfpenny candle, did not receive it until she had first submitted 
to a lecture from Mrs. Buffle. Not that her custom was all of this 
ignoble description : some of the gentlemen's houses in the neigh- 
bourhood would deal with her in a chance way, when out of articles 
at home. Her wares were good; her home-cured bacon was 
particularly good. Amidst other olfactory treats, indigenous to 
Honey Fair, was that of pigs and pig-sties, kept by Mrs. Buffle. 

Occasionally Mrs. Halliburton would go to this shop; it was 
nearer to her house than any other ; and, in her small way, had been 
extensively patronised by her. Of all her customers, Mrs. Halli- 
burton was the one who most puzzled Mrs. Buffle. In the first 
place, she never gossiped ; in the second, though evidently a lady, 
she would carry her purchases home herself. The very servants 
from the large nouses, coming flaunting in their smart caps, would 
loftily order their pound of bacon or shilling's worth of eggs sent 
home for them. Mrs. Halliburton took hers away in her own hand ; 
and this puzzled Mrs. Buffle. " But her pays ready money," observed 
that lady, when relating this to another customer, " so 'tain't my 
place to grumble." 1 

During the summer weather, whenever Jane had occasion to walk 
through Honey Fair, on her way to this shop, she would linger to 
admire the women at their open doors and windows, busy over their 
nice clean work. Rocking the cradle with one foot, or jogging the 
baby on their knees, to a tune of their own composing, their hands 
would be ever active at their employment. Some made the gloves ; 
that is, seamed the fingers together and put in the thumbs, and these 
were called " makers." Some welted, or hemmed the gloves round 
at the edge of the wrist ; these were called " welters." Some worked 
the three ornamental lines on the back; and these were called 
" pointers." Some of the work was done in what was called a patent 
machine, whereby the stitches were rendered perfectly equal. And 
some of the stouter gloves were stitched together, instead of being 
sewn : stitching so beautifully regular and neat, that a stranger 
would look at it in admiration. In short, there were, and are, 
different branches in the making and sewing of gloves, as there are 
in most trades. i 

It now struck Jane that she might find employment at this work, 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 7 



98 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



until better times should come round. True, she had never worked 
at it ; but she was expert with her needle, and it was easily acquired. 
She possessed a dry, cool hand, too ; a great thing where sewing- 
silk, sometimes floss silk has to be used. What cared she, to lower 
herself to the employment only dealt out to the poor ? Was she not 
poor herself? And who knew her in Helstonleigh ? 

The day that Mr. Ashley removed the dreaded visitor from her 
house, Jane had occasion to speak to Elizabeth Carter, her young 
servant's mother. At dusk, putting aside the frock she was making 
for Anna, Jane proceeded to Honey Fair, in which perfumed locality 
Mrs. Carter lived. An agreement had been entered into that Betsy 
should still go to Mrs. Halliburton's to do the washing (after her 
own fashion, but Jane could not afford to be fastidious now), and 
also what was wanted in the way of scouring — Betsy being paid 
a trifle in return, and instructed in the mysteries of reading and 
writing. 

" 'Taint no profit," observed Mrs. Carter to a crony, " but 'taint no 
loss. Her won't do nothing at home, let me cry after her as I will. 
Out her goes, gampusing to this house, gampusing to that ; but not 
a bit of work'll her stick to at home. If these new folks can keep 
her to work a bit, so much the better; it'll be getting her hand in.; 
and better still, if they teaches her to read and write. Her wouldn't 
learn nothing from the school-missis." 

Not a very favourable description of Miss Betsy. But, what the 
girl chiefly wanted, was a firm hand held over her. Her temper and 
disposition were good ; but she was an only child, and her mother, 
though possessing a firm hand, and a firm tongue too, in general — 
none more so in Honey Fair — had spoilt and indulged Miss Betsy 
until her authority was gone. 

After her business was over this evening with Mrs. Carter, Jane, 
who wanted some darning cotton, turned into Mrs. Buffie's shop. 
That priestess was in her accustomed place behind the counter. She 
curtseyed twice, and spoke in a low, subdued tone, in deference to 
the widow's cap and bonnet — to the deep mourning altogether, which 
Mrs. Buffle's curiosity had not had the gratification of beholding 
before. 

" Would you like it fine or coarse, mum ? Here's both. 'Taint 
a great assortment, but it's the best quality. I don't have much call 
for darning cotton, mum : the folks round about is always at their 
gloving work." 

" But they must mend their stockings," observed Jane. 

" Not they," returned Mrs. Bufifle. " They'd go in naked heels, 
mum, afore they'd take a needle and darn 'em up. They have took 
to wear them untidy boots, to cover the holes, and away they go with 
'em, unlaced ; tongue hanging, and tag trailing half a mile behind 
'em. Great big slatterns, they be ! " 

" They seem always at work," remarked Jane. 

" Always at work!" repeated Mrs. Buffle. "You don't know 
much of 'em, mum, or you'd not say it. They'll play one day, and 



MRS. REECE AND DOBBS. 



99 



work the next ; that's their work. It's only a few of the steady ones 
that'll work regular, all the week through." 

"What could a good, steady workwoman earn a week at the 
glove-making ? " 

" That depends, mum, upon how close she stuck to it," responded 
Mrs. Buffle. 

" I mean, sitting closely." 

" Oh, well," debated Mrs. Buffle carelessly, " she might earn ten 
shillings a week, and do it comfortable." 

Ten shillings a week ! Jane's heart beat hopefully. Upon ten 
shillings a week she might manage to exist, to keep her children 
from starvation, until better days arose. She, impelled by necessity, 
could sit longer and closer, too, than perhaps those women did. Mrs. 
Buffle continued, full of inward gratulation that her silent customer 
had come round to gossip at last. 

"They be the improvidentest things in the world, mum, these 
gloveress girls. Sundays they be dressed up as grand as queens, 
flowers inside their bonnets, and ribbuns out, a-setting the churches 
and chapels alight with their finery; and then off for walks with 
their sweethearts, all the afternoon and evening. Mondays is mostly 
spent in waste, gathering of themselves at each other's houses, talking 
and laughing, or, may be, off to the fields again — anything for idle- 
ness. Tuesdays is often the same, and then the rest of the week 
they has to scout over their work, to get it in on the Saturday. Ah ! 
you don't know 'em, mum." 

Jane paid for her darning cotton and came away, much to Mrs. 
Buffle's regret. " Ten shillings a week," kept ringing in her ears. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

MRS. REECE AND DOBBS. 

Jane was busy that evening ; but the following morning she went 
into Samuel Lynn's. Patience was in the kitchen, washing currants 
for a pudding; the maid upstairs at her work. Jane held the body 
of Anna's frock in her hand. She wished to try it on. 

" Anna is not at home," was the reply of Patience. " She is gone 
to spend the day with Mary Ashley." 

Jane felt sorry; she had been in hopes of finishing it that day. 
" Patience," said she, " I want to ask your advice. I have been 
thinking that I might get employment at sewing gloves. It seems 
easy work to learn." 

" Would thee like the work ? " asked Patience. " Ladies have a 
prejudice against it, because it is the work supplied to the poor. 
Not but that some ladies in this town, willing to eke out their means, 
do work at it in private. They get the work brought out to them 
and taken in." 



ioo MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" That would be the worst for me," observed Jane : " taking in of 
the work. I do fear I should not like it." 

" Of course not. Thee could not go to the manufactory, and 
stand amid the crowd of women, for thy turn to be served, as one 
of them. Wait thee an instant." 

Patience dried her hands upon the roller-towel, and took Jane into 
the best parlour, the one less frequently used. Opening a closet, she 
reached from it a small, peculiar-looking machine, and some unmade 
gloves : the latter were in a basket covered over with a white cloth. 

" This is different work from what the women do," said she. " It 
is what is called the French point, and is confined to a few of the 
chief manufacturers. It is not allowed to be done publicly, lest all 
should get hold of the stitch. Those who employ the point have it 
done in private." 

" Who does it here ? " exclaimed Jane. 

" I do," said Patience, laughing. " Did thee think I should be 
like the fine ladies, ashamed to put my hand to it ? I and James 
Meeking's wife do all that is at present being done for the Ashley 
manufactory. But now, look thee. Samuel Lynn was saying only 
last night, that they must search out for some other hand who would 
be trustworthy, for they want more of the work done. It is easy to 
learn, and I know they would give it thee. It is a little better paid 
than the other work, too. Sit thee down and try it." 

Patience fixed the back of the glove in the pretty little square 
machine, took the needle — a peculiar one — and showed how it was 
to be done. Jane, in a glow of delight, accomplished some stitches 
readily. 

" I see thee would be handy at it," said Patience. " Thee can take 
the machine indoors to-day and practise. I will give thee a piece 
of old leather to exercise upon. In two or three days thee may be 
quite perfect. I do not work very much at it myself, at which 
Samuel Lynn grumbles. It is all my own profit, what 1 earn, so 
that he has no selfish motive in urging me to work, except that they 
want more of it done. But I have my household matters to attend 
to, and Anna takes up my time. I get enough for my clothes, and 
that is all I care for." 

" I know I could do it ! I could do it well, Patience." 

" Then I am sure thee may have it to do. They will supply thee 
with a machine, and Samuel Lynn will bring thy work home and 
take it back again, as he does mine. He " 

William was bursting in upon them with a beaming tace. 
" Mamma, make haste home. Two ladies are asking to see the 
rooms." 

Jane hurried in. In the parlour sat a pleasant-looking old lady 
in a large black silk bonnet. The other, smarter, younger (but she 
must have been forty at least), and very cross-looking, wore a 
Leghorn bonnet with green and scarlet bows. She was the old 
lady's companion, housekeeper, servant, all combined in one, as 
Jane found afterwards. 



MRS. REECE AND DOBBS. 



IOI 



a You have lodgings to let, ma'am," said the old lady. " Can we 
see them ? " 

"This is the sitting-room," Jane was beginning; but she was 
interrupted by the smart one in a snappish tone. 

" This the sitting-room ! Do you call this furnished ? " 

"Don't be hasty, Dobbs," rebuked her mistress. "Hear what 
the lady has to say." 

" The furniture is homely, certainly," acknowledged Jane. " But 
it is new and clean. That is a most comfortable sofa. The bed- 
rooms are above." 

The old lady said she would see them, and they proceeded up- 
stairs. Dobbs put her head into one room, and withdrew it with a 
shriek. " This room has no bedside carpets." 

" I am sorry to say that I have no bedside carpets at present," 
said Jane, feeling all the discouragement of the avowal. " I will 
get some as soon as I possibly can, if any one taking the rooms 
will kindly do without them for a little while." 

" Perhaps we might, Dobbs," suggested the old lady, who appeared 
to be of an accommodating, easy nature ; readily satisfied. 

" Begging your pardon, ma'am, you'll do nothing of the sort," 
returned Dobbs. " We should have you doubled up with cramp, if 
you clapped your feet on to a cold floor. / am not going to do it." 

" I never do have cramp, Dobbs." 

" Which is no reason, ma'am, why you never should," authorita- 
tively returned Dobbs. 

" What a lovely view from these back windows ! " exclaimed the 
old lady. " Dobbs, do you see the Malvern Hills ? " 

"We don't eat and drink views," testily responded Dobbs. 

" They are pleasant to look at though," said her mistress. " I 
like these rooms. Is there a closet, ma'am, or small apartment 
that we could have for our trunks, if we came ? " 

"We are not coming," interrupted Dobbs, before Jane could 
answer. " Carpetless floors won't suit us, ma'am." 

" There is a closet here, over the entrance," said Jane to the old 
lady, as she opened the door. " Our own boxes are in it now, but I 
can have them moved upstairs." 

" So there's a cock-loft, is there ? " put in Dobbs. 

" A what ? " cried Jane, who had never heard the word. " There 
is nothing upstairs but an attic. A garret, as it is called here." 

"Yes," burst forth Dobbs, "it is called a garret by them that 
want to be fine. Cock-loft is good enough for us decent folk : we've 
never called it anything else. Who sleeps up there?" she sum- 
marily demanded. 

" My little boys. This was their room, but I have put them up- 
stairs that I may let this one." 

"There ma'am ! " said Dobbs, triumphantly, as she turned to her 
mistress. "You'll believe me another time, I hope! I told you I 
knew there was a pack of children. One of 'em opened the door 
to us." 



102 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Perhaps they are quiet children," said the old lady, who had 
been so long used to the grumbling and domineering of Dobbs, that 
she took it as a matter of course. 

"They are, indeed," said Jane, "quiet, good children. I will 
answer for it that they will not disturb you in any way." 

" I should like to see the kitchen, ma'am," said the old lady. 

"We only want the use of it," snapped Dobbs. "Our kitchen 
fire goes out after dinner, and I boil the kettle for tea in the 
parlour." 

" Would attendance be required ? " asked Jane of the old lady. 

" No, it wouldn't," answered Dobbs, in the same tart tone. " I 
wait upon my missis, and I wait upon myself, and we have a woman 
in to do the cleaning, and the washing goes out." 

The answer gave Jane great relief. Attending upon lodgers had 
been a dubious prospect, in more respects than one. 

" It's a very good kitchen," said the old lady, as they went in, 
and she turned round in it. 

" I'll be bound it smokes," said Dobbs. 

" No, it does not," replied Jane. 

" Where's the coalhouse ? " asked Dobbs. "Is there two ? " 

" Only one," said Jane. "It is at the back of the kitchen." 

" Then — if we did come — where could our coal be put ? " fiercely 
demanded Dobbs. " I must have my coalhouse to myself, with a 
lock and key. I don't want the house's fires supplied from my 
missis's coal." 

Jane's cheeks flushed as she turned to the old lady. "Allow me 
to assure you that your property — of whatever nature it may be — 
will be perfectly sacred in this house. Whether locked up or not, 
it will be left untouched by me and mine." 

"To be sure, ma'am," pleasantly returned the old lady. "I'm 
not afraid. You must not mind what Dobbs says : she means 
nothing." 

" And our safe for meat and butter," proceeded that undaunted 
functionary. "Is there a key to it ? " 

"And now about the rent?" said the old lady, giving Jane no 
time to answer that there was a key. 

Jane hesitated. And then, with a flush, asked twenty shillings 
a-week. 

"My conscience!" uttered Dobbs. "Twenty shillings a-week. 
And us finding spoons and linen ! " 

" Dobbs," said the old lady. " I don't see that it is so very out 
of the way. A parlour, two bedrooms, a closet, and the kitchen, all 
furnished " 

" The closet's an empty, dark hole, and the kitchen's only the use 
of it, and the bedrooms are carpetless," reiterated Dobbs, drowning 
her mistress's voice. " But, if anybody asked you for your head, 
ma'am, you'd just cut it off and give it, if I wasn't at hand to stop 
you." 

"Well, Dobbs, we have seen nothing else to suit us up here. 



MRS. REECE AND DOBBS. 



And you know I want to settle myself at this end of the town, on 
account of it being high and dry. Parry says I must." 

"We have not half looked yet," said Dobbs. 

" A pound a-week is a good price, ma'am ; and we have not paid 
quite so much where we are : but I don't know that it's unreason- 
able," continued the old lady to Jane. "What shall we do, Dobbs?" 

" Do, ma'am ! Why, of course you'll come out, and try higher 
up. To take these rooms without looking out for others, would 
be as bad as buying a pig in a poke. Come along, ma'am. Bed- 
rooms without carpets won't do for us at any price," she added to 
Jane by way of a parting salutation. 

They left the house, the lady with a cordial good morning, Dobbs 
with none at all ; and went quarrelling up the road. That is, the 
old lady reasoning, and Dobbs disputing. The former proposed, if 
they saw nothing to suit them better, to purchase bedside carpeting : 
upon which Dobbs accused her of wanting to bring herself to the 
workhouse. 

Patience, who had watched them away, from her parlour window, 
came in to learn the success. She brought in with her the machine, 
a plain piece of leather, the size of the back of a glove, neatly fixed 
in it. Jane's tears were falling. 

" I think they would have taken them had there been bedside 
carpets," sighed she. " Oh, Patience, what a help it would have 
been ! I asked a pound a week." 

" Did thee? That was a good price, considering thee would not 
have to give attendance." 

" How do you know I should not?" asked Jane. 

" Because I know Hannah Dobbs waits upon her mistress," 
replied Patience. " She is the widow of Joseph Reece, and he left 
her well off. I heard they were coming to live up this way. Did 
they quite decline them ? Because, I can tell thee what. We have 
some strips of bedside carpet not being used, and I would not mind 
lending them till thee can buy others. It is a pity thee should lose 
the letting for the sake of a bit of carpet." 

Jane looked up gratefully. " What should I have done without 
you, Patience?" 

" Nay, it is not much : thee art welcome. I would not risk the 
carpet with unknown people, but Hannah Dobbs is cleanly and 
careful." 

" She has a very repelling manner," observed Jane. 

" It is not agreeable," assented Patience, with a smile; " but she 
is attached to her mistress, and serves her faithfully." 

Jane sat down to practise upon the leather, watching the road 
at the same time. In about an hour she saw Mrs. Reece and 
Dobbs returning. William went out, and asked if they would step in. 

They were already coming. They had seen nothing they liked 
so well. Jane said she believed she could promise them bedside 
carpets. 

. " Then, I think we will decide, ma'am, said the old lady. " We 



104 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



saw one set of rooms, very nice ones ; and they asked only seven- 
teen shillings a-week : but they have a young man lodger, a pupil 
at the infirmary, and he comes home at all hours of the night. 
Dobbs questioned them till they confessed that it was so." 

" I know what them infirmary pupils is," indignantly put in 
Dobbs. " I am not going to suffer my missis to come in contract 
with their habits. There ain't one of 'em as thinks anything of 
stopping out till morning light. And before the sun's up they'll 
have a pipe in their mouths, filling the house with smoke! It's 
said, too, that there's mysterious big boxes brought to 'em, for 
what they call the ' furtherance of science : ' perhaps some of the 
churchyard sextons could tell what's in 'em ! " 

"Well, Dobbs. I think we may take this good lady's rooms. 
I'm sure we shan't get better suited elsewhere." 
! Dobbs only grunted. She was tired with her walk, and had 
really no objection to the rooms; except as to price: that, she 
persisted in disputing as outrageous. 

" I suppose you would not take less," said the old lady to Jane. 

Jane hesitated; but it was impossible for her to be otherwise 
than candid and truthful. " I would take a trifle less, sooner than 
not let you the rooms ; but I am very poor, and every shilling is a 
consideration to me." 

"Well, I will take them at the price," concluded the good- 
natured old lady. "And Dobbs, if you grumble, I can't help it. 
Can we come in — let me see? — this is Wednesday " 

" I won't come in on a Friday for anybody," interrupted Dobbs 
fiercely. 

"We will come in on Tuesday next, ma'am," decided the old 
lady. " Before that, I'll send in a trolley of coal, if you'll be so 
kind as receive it." 

"And to lock it up," snapped Dobbs. 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE GLOVE OPERATIVES. 

At the hours of going to and leaving work, the Hefstonleigh streets 
were alive with glove operatives, some being in one branch of the 
trade, some in another. There were parers, grounders, leather- 
sorters, dyers, cutters, makers-up, and else: all being necessary j 
besides the sewing, to turn out one pair of gloves ; though, I dare 
say, you did not think it. The wages varied according to the par- 
ticular work, or the men's ability and industry, from fifteen shillings 
a week to twenty-five : but all could earn a good living. If a man 
gained more than twenty-five, he had a stated salary ; as was the 
case with the foremen. These wages, joined to what was earned 
by the women, were sufficient to maintain a comfortable home, and 



THE GLOVE OPERATIVES. 



105 



to bring up children decently. Unfortunately the same draw- 
backs prevailed in Helstonleigh that are but too common elsewhere : 
and they may be classed under one general head — improvidence. 
The men were given to idling away at the public -houses more 
time than was good for them : the women to scold and to quarrel. 
Some were slatterns; and a great many gave their husbands the 
welcome of a home of discomfort, ill-management, and dirt : which, 
of course, had the effect of sending them out all the more surely. 

Just about this period, the men had their especial grievance — or 
thought they had : and that was, a low rate of wages and not full 
employment. Had they paid a visit to other places and compared 
their wages with some earned by operatives of a different class, 
they had found less cause to complain. The men were rather 
given to compare present wages with those they had earned before 
the dark crisis (dark so far as Helstonleigh's trade was concerned) 
when the British ports were opened to foreign gloves. But few, 
comparatively speaking, of the manufacturers had weathered that 
storm. Years had elapsed since then; but the employment re- 
mained scarce, and the wages (I have quoted them to you) low. 
Altogether, the men were, many of them, dissatisfied. They even 
went so far as to talk of a " strike : " strikes being less common in 
those days than they are in these. 

It was Saturday night, and the streets were crowded. The 
hands were pouring out of the different manufactories ; clean-look- 
ing, respectable workmen, as a whole : for the branches of glove- 
making are for the most part of a cleanly nature. Some wore 
their white aprons ; some had rolled them up round their waists. 
A few — very few, it must be owned — were going to their homes, but 
the greater portion were bound for the public-house. 

One of the most extensively patronised of the public-houses was 
The Cutters' Arms. On a Saturday night, when the men's 
pockets were lined, this would be crowded. The men flocked into 
it now, and filled it, although its room of entertainment was very 
large. The order from most of them was a pint of mild ale and 
some tobacco. 

" Any news, Joe Fisher ? " asked a man, when the pipes were set 
going. 

Joe Fisher tossed his head and growled. He was a tall, dark 
man ; clothes and condition both dilapidated. The questioner took 
a few whiffs, and repeated his question. Joe growled again, but 
did not speak. 

" Well, you might give a chap a civil answer, Fisher." 

" What's the matter, you two?" cried a third. 

"Ben Wilks asks me is there any news!" called out Fisher, 
indignantly. " I thought he might ha' heered on't without asking. 
Our pay was docked again to-night ; that's the news." 

" No!" uttered Wilks. 

" It were," said Fisher savagely. " A shilling a week less, good. 
Who's a-going to stand it?" 



lo6 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" There ain't no help for standing it," interposed a quiet-looking 
man, named Wheeler. " I suppose the masters is forced to lower. 
They say so." 

" Have your master forced hisself to it?" angrily retorted Fisher. 

" Well, Fisher, you know I'm fortunate. As all is, that gets in 
to work at Ashley's." 

"And precious good care they take to stop in!" cried Fisher, 
much aggravated. " No danger that Ashley's hands'll give way 
and afford outsiders a chance." 

" Why should they give way ? " sensibly asked Wheeler. " You 
need never think to get in at Ashley's, Fisher, so there's no cause 
for you to grumble." 

A titter went round at Fisher's expense. He did not like it. " I 
might stand my chance with others, if there was room. Who says 
I couldn't? Come, now!" 

A man laughed. " You had better ask Samuel Lynn that ques- 
tion, Fisher. Why, he wouldn't look at you ! You are not steady 
enough for him." 

" Samuel Lynn may go along for a ill-natured broad-brim ! " was 
Fisher's retort. " There'd not be half the difficulty in getting in 
with Mr. Ashley hisself." 

" Yes, there would," said Wheeler, quietly. " Mr. Ashley pays 
first wages, and he'll have first hands. Quaker Lynn knows what 
he's about." 

" Don't dispute about nothing, Fisher," interrupted a voice, borne 
through the clouds of smoke from the far end of the room. " To 
lose a shilling a week is bad, but not so bad as losing all. I have 
heard ill news this evening." 

Fisher stretched up his long neck. "Who's that a-talking? Is 
it Mr. Crouch?" 

It was Stephen Crouch; the foreman in a large firm, and a 
respectable, intelligent man. "Do you remember, any of you, that 
a report arose some time ago about Wilson and King? A report 
that died away again?" 

"That they were on their last legs," replied several voices. 
"Well?" 

" Well, they are off them now," continued Stephen Crouch. 

Up rose a man, his voice shaking with emotion. " It's not true, 
Mr. Crouch, sure — ly ! " 

"It is, Vincent. Wilson and King are going to wind up. It will 
be announced next week." 

" Mercy help us ! There'll be forty more hands throwed out ! 
What's to become of us all?" 

A dead silence fell on the room. Vincent broke it. Hope is 
strong in the human heart. " Mr. Crouch, I don't think it can be 
true. Our wages was all paid up to-night. And we have not 
heard a breath on't." 

" I know all that," said Stephen Crouch. " I know where the 
money came from to pay them. It came from Mr. Ashley." 



THE GLOVE OPERATIVES. 



107 



The assertion astonished the room. " From Mr. Ashley ! Did 
he tell it abroad?" 

" He tell it ! " indignantly returned Stephen Crouch. " Mr. Ashley 
is an honourable man. No. Wilson and King have a tattler too 
near to them ; that's how it came out. Not but what it would have 
been known all over Helstonleigh on Monday, all particulars. 
Every sixpence, pretty near, that Wilson and King have, is locked 
up in their stock. They expected remittances by the London mail 
this morning, and they did not come. They went to the bank. 
The bank was shy, and would not make advances ; and they had 
nothing in hand for wages. They went to Mr. Ashley and told 
him their perplexity, and he drew a cheque. The bank cashed that, 
with a bow. And if it had not been for Mr. Ashley, Ned Vincent, 
you and the rest of their hands would have gone home to-night with 
empty pockets." 

j " Will Mr. Ashley lose the money?" 

" Not he. He knew there was no danger of that, when he lent 
it. Nobody will lose by Wilson and King. They have more than 
enough to pay everybody in full ; only their money's locked up. 

" Why are they giving up ? " 

" Because they can't keep on. They have been losing a long 
while. What do you ask — what will they do ? They must do as 
others have done before them, who have been unable to keep on. 
If Wilson and King had given up ten years ago, they had then 
each a nice little bit of property to retire upon. But it has been 
sunk since. There are too many others in this city in the same 
case." 

" And what's to become of us hands that's throwed out ? " asked 
Vincent, returning to his own personal grievance. 

" You must try and get taken on somewhere else, Vincent," ob- 
served Stephen Crouch. 

"There ain't a better cutter than Ned Vincent going," cried 
another voice. "He won't wait long." 

"I don't know about that," returned Vincent gloomily. "The 
masters is overdone with hands." 

" Of all the bad luck as ever fell upon a town, the opening of the 
ports to them foreign French was the worst for Helstonleigh," broke 
in the intemperate voice of Fisher. 

" Hold th' tongue, Fisher ! " exclaimed a sensible voice. " We 
won't get into them discussions again. Didn't we go over 'em, 
night after night, aftd year after year, till we were heart-sick ? — and 
what did they ever bring us, but ill-feeling ? It's done, and it can't 
be undone. The ports be open, and they'll never be closed again." 

" Did the opening of 'em ruin the trade of Helstonleigh, or didn't 
it ? Answer me that," said Fisher. 

"It did. We know it to our cost," was the sad answer. " But 
there's no help for it." 

" Oh," returned Fisher ironically. " I thought you were going to 
hold out that the opening of 'em was a boon to the place, and the 



io8 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



keeping 'em open a blessing. That 'ud be a new dodge. Why do 
they keep 'em open ? " 

" Just hark at Fisher ! " said Mr. Buffle in a mincing tone. " He 
wants to know why Government keeps open the British ports. 
Don't every dozen of gloves that comes into the country pay 
a heavy duty? Is it likely Government would give up that, 
Fisher ? " 

"What did they do afore they had it? roared Fisher. " If they 
did without the duty then, they could do without it now." 

" I have heered of some gents as never tasted sugar," returned 
Mr. Buffle ; " but I never heered of one, who had the liking for it, 
as was willing to forego the use of it. It's a case in pint ; the 
Government have tasted the sweets of the glove-duty, and they stick 
to it." 

" Avaricious wolves ! " growled Fisher. " But you are a fool, 
dandy, for all that. What's a bit of paltry duty, alongside of our 
wants ? If a few of them great Government lords had to go on 
empty stomachs for a month, they'd know what the opening of ports 
means." 

" In all political changes, such as this, certain localities must 
suffer," broke in the quiet voice of Stephen Crouch. " It will be 
the means of increasing commerce wonderfully ; and we, that the 
measure crushed, must be content to suffer for the general good. 
The effects to us can never be undone. I know what you would 
say, Fisher," he continued, silencing Fisher by a gesture. " I know 
that the ports might be re-closed to-morrow, if Government so 
willed it. But it could not undo for us what has been done. It 
could not repair the ruin that was wrought on Helstonleigh. It 
could not reinstate firms in business ; or refund to the masters their 
wasted capital ; or collect the hands it scattered over the country, 
to find a bit of work, to beg, or to starve ; or bring the dead back to 
life. It could not do any of this. Neither would it restore a flourish- 
ing trade to those of us who are left." 

" What's that last, Crouch ? " 

" It never would," emphatically repeated Stephen Crouch. " A 
shattered trade cannot be brought together again. It is like a 
shattered glass : you may mourn over the pieces, but you cannot 
put them together. Believe me, or not, as you please, my friends, 
but the only thing remaining for Helstonleigh is, to make the best 
of what is left to us. There are other trades a deal worse off now 
than we are." 

" I have talked to ye about that there move — a strike," resumed 
Fisher, after a pause. " We shall get no good till we try it " 

" Fisher, don't you be a fool and show it," was the imperative 
interruption of Stephen Crouch. " I have explained to you till I 
am tired, what would be the effects of a strike. It would just finish 
you bad workmen up, and send you and your children into the 
nearest dry ditch for a floor, with the open skies above you for a 
roof." 



THE GLOVE OPERATIVES. 



109 



" We have never tried a strike in Helstonleigh," answered Fisher, 
holding to his own opinion. 

" And I trust we never shall," returned the intelligent foreman. 
P Other trades may have their strikes if they choose, and it's not 
our business to find fault with them for it ; but the glove trade has 
hitherto kept itself aloof from strikes, and it's to be hoped it always 
will. You cannot understand how a strike works, Joe Fisher, or 
you'd not let your head be running on it." 

" Others' heads be running on it as well as mine, Master Crouch," 
said Fisher, nodding significantly. 

"It is not improbable," was the equable rejoinder of Stephen 
Crouch. " Go and strike next week, half a dozen of you. I mean 
the operatives of half a dozen firms." 

" Every firm in the place must strike," interrupted Fisher hastily. 
I A few on us doing it, would only make bad worse." 

Stephen Crouch smiled. " Exactly. But the difficulty, Fisher, 
will be, that all the firms worCt strike. Ask the men in our firm to 
strike ; ask those in Ashley's ; ask others that we could name — and 
what would their answer be ? Why, that they know when they are 
well off. Suppose, for argument's sake, that we did all strike ; suppose 
all the hands in Helstonleigh struck next Monday morning, and the 
manufactories had to be closed ? Who would have the worst of it ? 
— we ? or the masters ? " 

" The masters," returned Fisher in an obstinate tone. 

" No. The masters have good houses over their heads, and their 
bankers' books to supply their wants while they are waiting — and 
their orders are not so great that they need fear much pressure on 
that score. The London houses would dispatch a few extra orders 
to Paris and Grenoble, and the masters here might enjoy a nice 
little trip to the seaside while our senses were coming back to us. 
But where should we be? Out at elbows, out at pocket, out at 
heart ; some starving, some in the workhouse. If you want to avoid 
those contingencies, Joe Fisher, you'll keep from strikes." 

Fisher answered by an ironical cheer. " Here, missis," said he to 
the landlady, who was then passing him, " let's have another pint, 
after that." 

" That'll make nine pints that you owe for since Monday night, 
Joe Fisher," responded the landlady. 

" What if it do ? " grunted Fisher irascibly. " I am able to pay. 
f ain't out of work." 



no MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THE LADIES OF HONEY FAIR. 

It was Saturday night in Honey Fair. A night when the ladies 
were at leisure to abandon themselves to their private pursuits. 
The work of the past week had gone into the warehouses ; and the 
fresh work, brought out, would not be begun until Monday 
morning. Some of them, as Mrs. Buffle has informed us, did not 
begin it then. The women chiefly cleaned their houses and 
mended their clothes : some washed and ironed — Honey Fair was 
not famous for its management — not going to bed till Sunday 
morning ; some did their marketing ; and a few, careless and lazy, 
spent it in running from house to house, or congregated in the road 
to gossip. 

About half-past eight, one of the latter suddenly pulled the latch 
of a house door, and thrust in her head. It was Joe Fisher's wife. 
Her face was red, and her cap in tatters. 

" Is our Becky in here, Mrs. Carter ? " 

Mrs. Carter was busy. She was the maternal parent of Miss 
Betsy. Her kitchen fire was out, her furniture was heaped one 
thing upon another ; a pail of water stood ready to wash the brick 
floor, when she should have finished rubbing up the grate, and her 
hands and face were as grimy as the black-lead. 

" There's no Becky here," snapped she. 

" I can't find her," returned Mrs. Fisher. " I thought her might 
be along of your Betsy. I say, here's your husband coming round 
the corner. There's Mark Mason, and Robert East, and Dale 
along of him. And — my ! what has that young 'un of East's 
been doing to hisself ? He's black from head to foot. Come and 
look." 

Mrs. Carter disdained the invitation. She was a hard-working, 
thrifty woman, but a cross one. Priding herself upon her cleanli- 
ness, she perpetually returned loud thanks that she was not as 
the dirty ones around her. She was the Pharisee amidst many 
publicans. 

"If I passed my time staring and gossiping as some does, 
where 'ud my work be ? " was her rebuke. " Shut the door, Suke 
Fisher." 

Suke Fisher did as she was bid. She turned her wrists back 
upon her hips, and walked to meet the advancing party, having 
discerned their approach by the light of the gas-lamps. " Be you 
going to be sold for a blackamoor ? " demanded she of the boy. , 

The boy laughed. His head, face, shoulders, hands, were orna- 
mented with a thick, black liquid, not unlike blacking. He ap- 
peared to enjoy the treat, as if he had been anointed with some 
fragrant oil. 



THE LADIES OF HONEY FAIR. in 



" He is not a bad spectacle, is he, Dame Fisher ? " remarked the 
young man, whom she had called Robert East. 
" What's a-done it ? " questioned she. 

" Him and Jacky Brumm got larking, and upset the dye-pot upon 
themselves. We rubbed 'em down with the leather shreds, but it 
keeps on dripping from their hair." 

" Won't Charlotte warm his back for him ! " apostrophized Mrs. 
Fisher. 

I -The boy threw a disdainful look at her, in return for the remark. 

II Charlotte's not so fond of warming backs. She never even scolds 
for an accident." 

t* The boy and Robert East were half-brothers. They entered one 
of the cottages. Robert East and his sister were between twenty 
and thirty, and the boy was ten. Their mother had died early, 
and the young boy's mother, their father's second wife, died when the 
child was born. The father also died. How Robert and his sister, 
the one then seventeen, the other fourteen, had struggled to make 
a living for themselves, and to bring up the baby, they alone knew. 
The manner in which they had succeeded was a marvel to many : 
none were more respectable now than they were, in all Honey Fair. 

Charlotte, neat and nice, sat by her bright kitchen fire, a savoury 
stew cooking on the hob beside it. It was her custom to have 
something good for supper on a Saturday night. Did she make 
.home attractive on that night to draw her brother from the seductions 
of the public-house ? Most likely. And she had her reward : for 
Robert never failed to come. The cloth was laid, the red bricks of 
the floor were clean, and Charlotte's face, as she looked up from 
her stocking-mending, was bright. It darkened to consternation, 
however, when she cast her eyes on the boy. 

" Tom, what have you been doing ? " 
' " Jacky Brumm threw a pot of dye over me, Charlotte." 

"There's not much real damage, Charlotte," interposed her 
brother. "It looks worse than it is. I'll get it out of his hair 
presently, and put his clothes into a pail of water. What have you 
got to-night ? It smells good." 

He alluded to supper, and took off the lid of the saucepan to 
peep in. She had some stewed beef, with carrots, and the savoury 
steam ascended to Robert's pleased face. 

Very few in Honey Fair managed as did Charlotte East. How 
she did her house-work no one knew. Not a woman, married or 
single, got through more glove-sewing tlran Charlotte. Not one 
kept her house in better order : and her clothes and brothers' were 
neat and respectable, week-days as well as Sundays. Her work 
was taken in to the warehouse on Saturday mornings, and her 
marketing was done. In the afternoon she cleaned her house, 
and by four o'clock was ready to sit down to her mending. No one 
€ver saw her in a bustle, and yet all her work was done ; and well 
done. Perhaps one great secret of it was, that she rose very early 
in the morning, winter and summer. 



112 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"Look, Robert, here is a nice book I have bought," said she, 
putting a periodical into his hands. " It comes out weekly. I shall 
take it in." 

Robert turned over the leaves. " It seems very interesting," he 
said presently. " Here's a paper that tells all about the Holy 
Land. And another that tells us how glass is made ; I have often 
wondered." 

" You can read it to us of an evening while I work," said she. 
" It will be quite a help to our getting on Tom : almost as good as 
sending him to school. I gave " 

The words were interrupted. The door was violently burst open, 
and a woman entered the kitchen ; knocking at doors, before entering, 
was not the fashion in Honey Fair. The intruder was Mrs. Brumm, 

" I say, Robert East, did you see anything of my husband?" 

" I saw him go into the Horned Ram." 

" Then I wish the Horned Ram was into him ! " wrathfully retorted 
Mrs. Brumm. " He vowed faithfully he'd come home with his wages 
the first thing after leaving work. He knows I have not a thing in 
the place for to-morrow — and Dame Buffle looking out for her 
money. I have a good mind to go down to the Horned Ram, and 
be on to him ! " 

Robert East offered no opinion upon this delicate point. He 
remembered the last time Mrs. Brumm had gone to the Horned 
Ram to be " on " to her husband, and what it had produced. A 
midnight quarrel that disturbed the slumbers of Honey Fair. 

" Who was along of him ? " pursued she. 

" Three or four of them. Hubbard and Jones, I saw go in ; and 
Adam Thorneycroft." 

A quick rising of the head, as if startled, and a faint accession of 
colour, told that one of those names had struck, perhaps unpleasantly, 
on the ear of Charlotte East. " Where are your own earnings ? " 
she asked of Mrs. Brumm. 

" I have had to take them to Bankes's," was the rueful reply. 
" It's a good deal now, and they're in a regular tantrum this week, 
and wouldn't even wait till Monday. They threatened to tell Brumm, 
and it frightened me out of my seventeen senses. And now, for 
him to go into that dratted Horned Ram with his wages ! and me 
without a penny-piece ! It's not more for the necessaries I want to 
get in, than for the things that is in pawn. I can't iron nothing : the 
irons is there." 

Charlotte, busy still, turned round. " I would not put in irons, 
and such things, that I wanted to use." 

" I dare say you wouldn't ! " tartly responded Mrs. Brumm. 
u One has to put in what one's got, and the things our husbands 
won't miss the sight of. It's fine to be you, Charlotte East, setting 
yourself up for a lady, and never putting your foot inside the pawn- 
shop, with your clean hands and your clean kitchen on a Satur- 
day night, sitting down to a hot supper, while the rest of us is 
a-scrubbing ! " 



THE LADIES OF HONEY FAIR. 113 

Charlotte laughed good-humouredly. " If I tried to set myself 
up for a lady, I could not be one. I work as hard as anybody; 
only I get it done betimes." 

Mrs. Brumm sniffed — having no ready answer at hand. And 
at that moment Tom East, encased in black, peeped out of the 
brewhouse, where he had been sent by Charlotte to wash the dye 
off his hands. " Sakes alive ! " uttered Mrs. Brumm, aghast at the 
sight. 

- " Jacky's worse than me," responded Tom, rather proud of 
having to say so much. Robert explained to her how it had 
happened. 

" And our Jacky's as bad as that ! " she cried. " Won't I wring 
it out of him ! " 

"Nonsense," said Robert; "it was an accident. Boys will be 
boys." 

" Yes, they will : and it's not the men that have to wash for 'em 
and keep 'em clean ! " retorted Mrs. Brumm, terribly wrathful. 
" And me at a standstill for my irons ! And that beast of a Brumm 
stopping out." 

. " I will lend you my irons," said Charlotte. 

" I won't take 'em," was the ungracious reply. " If I don't get 
my own, I won't borrow none. Brumm, he'll be looking out for his 
Sunday clean shirt to-morrow, and he won't get it ; and that'll punish 
him more than anything else. There's not a man in Honey Fair 
as likes to go sprucer on a Sunday than Brumm." 

" So much the better," said Charlotte. " When men lose pride in 
their appearance, they are apt to lose it in their conduct." 

" You must always put in your word for folks, Charlotte East, let 
'em be ever so bad," was Mrs. Brumm's parting salutation, as she 
went off and shut the door with a bang. 

Meanwhile Timothy Carter, Mrs. Carter's husband, had turned 
into his own dwelling, after leaving Robert East. The first thing 
to greet him was the pail of water. Mrs. Carter had completed her 
grate, and was dashing her water on to the floor. Timothy received 
it on his legs. 

" What's that for ? " demanded Timothy, who was a meek and 
timid little man. 

" Why do you brush in so sharp, then ? " cried she. " Who was 
^to know you was a-coming ? " 

Timothy had not " brushed in sharp ; " he had gone in quietly. 
He stood ruefully shaking the wet from his legs, first one, then the 
other, and afterwards began to pick his way on tiptoe towards the 
fireplace. 

"Now, it's of no use your attempting to sit down yet," rebuked 
his wife, in her usual cross accent. " There ain't no room for you 
at the fire, and there ain't no warmth in it ; it's but this blessed 
minute lighted. Sit yourself on that table, again the wall, and then 
your legs '11 be in the dry." 

" And there I may sit for an hour, for you'll t>e all that tim§: 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 8 



H4 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



before you have finished, by the looks on't," he ventured to 
remonstrate. 

" And half another hour to the end of it," answered she. " There's 
Betsy, as ought to be helping, gadding out somewhere ever since 
she came home at seven o'clock." 

" You says to me, says you, ' You come home to-night, Tim, as 
soon as work's over, and don't go drinking ! * You know you did," 
repeated Timothy in an injured tone. 

" And it's a good thing as you have come, or you'd have heard 
my tongue in a way you wouldn't like ! " was Mrs. Carter's reply. 

Timothy sighed. That tongue was the two-edged sword of his 
life: how dreaded, none but himself could tell. He had mounted 
the table, in obedience to orders, but he now got off again. 

" What are you after now ? " shrilly demanded Mrs. Carter, who 
was on her knees, scouring the bricks. 

" I want my pipe and 'baccy." 

"You stop where you are," was the imperative answer, "and 
wait till I have time to get it ; " and Timothy humbly sat down 
again. 

"You might get this done afore night, 'Lizabeth, as I've said over 
and over again," cried he, plucking up a little spirit. " When a 
man comes home tired, even if there ain't a bit o' supper for him, 
he expects a morsel o' fire to sit down to, so as he can smoke 
his pipe in quiet. It cows him, you see, to find his place in this 
ruck, where there ain't a dry spot to put the sole of his foot on, and 
nothing but a table with unekal legs to sit upon, and " 

"I might get it done afore?" shrieked Mrs. Carter. "Afore! 
When, through that Betsy's laziness, leaving everything on my 
shoulders, I couldn't get in my gloving till four o'clock this after- 
noon ! Every earthly thing have I had to do since then. I raked 
out my fire " 

" What's the good of raking out the fire ? " interposed Timothy. 

" Goodness help the simpleton ! Wanting to know the good of 
raking out the fire — as if he was born yesterday ! Can a grate be 
black-leaded while it's hot, pray ? " 

" It might be black-leaded at some other time," debated he. " In 
a morning, perhaps." 

" I dare say it might, if I had not my gloving to do," she answered, 
trembling with wrath. " When folks takes out shop work, they has 
to get on with that — and is glad to do it. Where would you be if 
I earned nothing? It isn't much of a roof we should have over 
our heads, with your paltry fifteen or sixteen shillings a-week. You 
be nothing but a parer, remember." 

"There's no need to disparage of me, 'Lizabeth," he rejoined, 
with a meek little cough. " You knowed I was a parer before you 
ventured on me." 

"Just take your legs up higher, or you'll be knocking my cap 
with your dirty boots," said Mrs. Carter, who was nearing the table 
in her scrubbing. 



THE LADIES OF HONEY FAIR. 



US* 



" I'll stand outside the door a bit, I think," he answered. " I am 
in your way everywhere." 

" Sit where you are, and lift up your legs," was the reiterated 
command. And Timothy obeyed. 

Cold and dreary, on he sat, watching the cleaning of the kitchen. 
The fire gave out no heat, and the squares of bricks did not dry. He 
took some silver from his pocket, and laid it in a stack on the table 
beside him, for his wife to take up at her leisure. She allowed him 
no chance of squandering his wages. 

A few minutes, and Mrs. Carter rose from her knees and went 
into the yard for a fresh supply of water. Timothy did not wait for 
a second ducking. He slipped off the table, took a shilling from 
the heap, and stole from the house. 

Back came Mrs. Carter, her pail brimming. "You go over to 
Dame Buffle's, Tim, and Why, where's he gone?" 

He was not in the kitchen, that was certain ; and she opened the 
staircase door, and elevated her voice shrilly. "Are you gone 
tramping up my stairs, with your dirty boots? Tim Carter, I say, 
are you upstairs?" 

. Of course Tim Carter was not upstairs. Or he had never dared 
to leave that voice unanswered. 

" Now, if he has gone off to any of them sotting publics, he shan't 
hear the last of it," she exclaimed, opening the door and gazing as 
far as the nearest gas-light would permit. But Timothy was beyond 
her eye and reach, and she caught up the money and counted it. 
Fourteen shillings. One shilling of it gone. 

She knew what it meant, and dashed the silver into a wide- 
necked canister on the high mantelshelf, which contained also her 
own earnings for the week. It would have been as much as meek 
Tim Carter's life was worth, to touch that canister, and she kept 
it openly on the mantelpiece. Many unfortunate wives in Honey 
Fair could not keep their money from their husbands, even under 
lock and key. As she was putting the canister in its place again, 
Betsy came in. Mrs. Carter turned sharply upon her. 

" Now, miss ! where have you been?" 

" Law, mother, how you fly out ! I have only been to Cross's." 

" You ungrateful piece of brass, when you know there's so much 
to be done on a Saturday night that I can't turn myself round ! 
You shan't go gadding about half your time. I'll put you from 
home entire, to a good tight service." 

Betsy had heard the same threat so often that its effect was gone. 
Had her mother only kept her in one-tenth of the subjection that 
she did her husband, it might have been better for the young lady. 
" I was only in at Cross's," she repeated. 

" What's the good of telling me that falsehood? I went to Cross's 
after you, but you wasn't there, and hadn't been there. You want 
a good sound shaking, miss." 

" If I wasn't at Cross's, I was at Mason's," was the imperturbable 
reply of Miss Betsy. " I was at Mason's first. Mark Mason came 



n6 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



home and turned as sour as a wasp, because the place was in a 
mess. She was washing her children, and she's got the kitchen 
to do, and he began blowing up. I left 'em then, and went in 
to Cross's. Mason went back down the hill ; so he'll come home 
tipsy." 

" Why can't she get her children washed afore he comes home?" 
retorted Mrs. Carter, who could see plenty of motes in her neigh- 
bours' eyes, though utterly blind to the beam in her own. Such 
wretched management ! Children ought to be packed out of the 
way by seven o'clock." 

" You don't get your cleaning over, any more than she does," 
remarked Miss Betsy boldly. 

Mrs. Carter turned an angry gaze upon her ; a torrent of words 
breaking from her lips, "/get my cleaning over! I, who am at 
work every moment of my day, from early morning till late at night ! 
You'd liken me to that good-for-nothing Het Mason, who hardly 
makes a dozen o' gloves in a week, and keeps her house like a 
pigsty ! Where would you and your father be, if I didn't work to 
keep you, and slave to make the place sweet and comfortable ? Be 
off to Dame Buffle's and buy me a besom, you ungrateful monkey : 
and then you turn to, and dust these chairs." 

Betsy did not wait for a second bidding. She preferred going 
for besoms, or for anything else, to her mother's kitchen and her 
mother's scolding. Her coming back was another affair; she would 
be just as likely to propel the besom into the kitchen and make off 
herself, as to enter. 

She suddenly stopped now, door in hand, to relate some news. 

" I say, mother, there's going to be a party at the Alhambra tea- 
gardens." 

" A party at the Alhambra tea-gardens, with frost and snow on 
the ground ! " ironically repeated Mrs. Carter. " Be off, and don't 
be an oaf." 

" It's true," said Betsy. " All Honey Fair's going to it. I shall 
go, too. 'Melia and Mary Ann Cross is going to have new things 
for it, and " 

"Will you go along and get that besom?" cried angry Mrs. 
Carter. " No child of mine shall go off to their Alhambras, 
catching of their death, on the wet grass." 

" Wet grass ! " echoed Betsy. " Why, you're never such a gaby 
as to think they'd have a party on the grass ! It is to be in the big 
room, and there's to be a fiddle and a tarn—— " 

" bourine " never came. Mrs. Carter sent the wet mop flying 

after Miss Betsy, and the young lady, dexterously evading it, flung- 
to the door and departed. 

A couple of hours later, Timothy Carter was escorted home, his 
own walking none of the steadiest. The men with him had taken 
more than Timothy ; but it was that weak man's misfortune to be 
overcome by a little. You will allow, however, that he had taken 
enough, having spent his shilling, and gone in debt besides. Mrs. 



THE LADIES OF HONEY FAIR. 



117 



Carter received him Well, I am rather at a loss to describe it. 

She did not actually beat him, but her shrill voice might be heard 
all over Honey Fair, lavishing hard names upon helpless Tim. 
First of all, she turned out his pockets. The shilling was all gone. 
" And how much more tacked on to it ? " asked she, wise by experi- 
ence. And Timothy was just able to understand and answer. He 
felt himself as a lamb in the fangs of a wolf. " Eightpence half- 
penny." 

" A shilling and eightpence halfpenny chucked away in drink in 
one night ! " repeated Mrs. Carter. She gave him a short, emphatic 
shake, and propelled him up the stairs ; leaving, him without a light, 
to get to bed as he could. She had still some hours' work down- 
stairs, in the shape of mending clothes. 

But it never once occurred to Mrs. Carter that she had herself to 
thank for his misdoings. With a tidy room and a cheerful fire to 
receive him, on returning from his day's work, Timothy Carter 
would no more have thought of the public-houses than you or I 
should. And if, as did Charlotte East, she had welcomed him with 
a good supper, and a pleasant tongue, poor Tim, in his gratitude, 
had forsworn public-houses for ever. 

Neither, when Mark Mason staggered home, and his wife raved 
at and quarrelled with him, to the further edification of Honey 
Fair, did it strike that lady that she could be in fault. As Mrs. 
Carter had said, Henrietta Mason did not overburden herself with 
work of any sort ; but she did make a pretence of washing her four 
children in a bucket on a Saturday night, and her kitchen after- 
wards. The ceremony was delayed through idleness and bad 
management to the least propitious part of the evening. So sure 
as she had the bucket before the fire, and the children collected 
round it ; one in, one just out, roaring to be dried, and the two 
others waiting their turn for the water, all of them stark naked — for 
Mrs. Mason made a point of undressing them at once to save 
trouble — so sure, I say, as these ablutions were in progress, the 
children frantically crying, Mrs. Mason boxing, storming, and 
rubbing, and the kitchen swimming, in would walk the father. 
Words invariably ensued : a short, sharp quarrel ; and he would 
turn out again for the nearest public-house, where he was welcomed 
by a sociable room and a glowing fire. Can any one be surprised 
that it should be so ? 

You must not think these cases overdrawn ; you must not think 
them exceptional cases. They are neither the one nor the other. 
They are truthful pictures, taken from what Honey Fair was then. 
I very much fear the same pictures might be taken from some 
places still. 



Ii8 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

MR. BRUMM'S SUNDAY SHIRT, 

But there's something to say yet of Mrs. Brumm. You saw her 
turning away from Robert East's door, saying that her husband, 
Andrew, had promised to come home that night and to bring his 
wages. Mrs. Brumm, a bad manager, as were many of the rest, 
would probably have received him with a sloppy kitchen, buckets, 
and besoms. Andrew had had experience of this, and, disloyal 
knight that he was, allowed himself to be seduced into the Horned 
Ram. He'd just take one pint and a pipe, he said to his conscience, 
and be home in time for his wife to get what she wanted. A little 
private matter of his own would call him away early. Pressed for 
a sum of money in the week, which was owing to his club, and not 
possessing it, he had put his Sunday coat in pledge : and this he 
wanted to get out. However, a comrade, sitting in the next chair 
to him at the Horned Ram, had to get his coat out of the same 
accommodating receptacle. Nothing more easy than for him to 
bring out Andrew's at the same time ; which was done. The coat 
on the back of his chair, his pipe in his mouth, and a pint of good 
ale before him, the outer world was as nothing to Andrew Brumm. 

At ten o'clock, the landlord came in. " Andrew Brumm, here's 
your wife wanting to see you." 

Now Andrew was not a bad sort of man by any means, but he 
had a great antipathy to being looked after. A joke went round at 
Andrew's expense; for if there was one thing the men in general 
hated more than another, it was that their wives should come in 
quest of them to the public-houses. Mrs. Brum received a sharp 
reprimand ; but she saw that he was, as she expressed it, " getting 
on," so she got some money from him and kept her scolding for 
another opportunity. 

She did not go near the pawnbroker's to get her irons out. She 
bought a bit of meat and what else she wanted, and returned to 
Honey Fair. Robert East was closing his door for the night as she 
passed it. " Has Brumm come home? " he asked. 

" Not he, the toper ! He is stuck fast at the Horned Ram, getting 
in for it nicely. I have been after him for some money." 

"Have you got your irons out?" inquired Charlotte, coming to 
the door. 

" No, nor nothing else; and there's pretty near half the kitchen 
in. It's him that'll suffer. He has been getting out his own coat, 
but he can't put it on. Leastway, he won't, without a clean collar 
and shirt ; and let him fish for them. Wait till to-morrow comes, 
Mr. 'Drew Brumm ! " 

" Was his coat in ? " returned Charlotte, surprised. 



MR. BRUMM'S SUNDAY SHIRT. 119 



" That it was. Him as goes on so when I puts a thing or two in ! 
He owed some money at his club, and he went and put his coat in 
for four shillings, and Adam Thorneycroft has been and fetched it 
out for him." 

" Adam Thorneycroft ! " involuntarily returned Charlotte. 

" Thorneycroft's coat was in, too, and he went for it just now, and 
Brumm gave him the ticket to get out his. Smith's daughter told 
me that. She was serving with her mother in the bar." 

"Is Adam Thorneycroft at the Horned Ram still ? " 

" That he is : side by side with Brumm. A nice pair of 'em ! 
Charlotte East, take my advice ; don't you have anything to say to 
Thorneycroft. A woman had better climb up to the top of her top- 
most chimbley and pitch herself off, head foremost, than marry a 
man given to drink." 

Charlotte East felt vexed at the allusion — vexed that her name 
should be coupled openly with that of Adam Thorneycroft by the 
busy tongues of Honey Fair. That an attachment existed between 
herself and Adam Thorneycroft was true; but she did not wish 
the fact to become too apparent to others. Latterly she had been 
schooling her heart to forget him, for he was taking to frequent 
public-houses. 

Mrs. Brumm went home and was soon followed by her husband. 
He was not much the worse for what he had taken : he was a little. 
Mrs. Brumm reproached him with it, and there ensued a wordy 
war. 

They arose peaceably in the morning. Andrew was a civil, well- 
conducted man, and but for Horned Rams would have been a 
pattern to three parts of Honey Fair. He liked to be dressed well 
on Sunday and to attend the cathedral with his two children : he 
was very fond of listening to the chanting. Mrs. Brumm — as was 
the custom generally with the wives of Honey Fair — stayed at home 
to cook the dinner. Andrew was accustomed to do many odd jobs 
on the Sunday morning, to save his wife trouble. He cleaned the 
boots and shoes, brushed his clothes, filled the coal-box, and made 
himself useful in sundry other ways. All this done, they sat down 
to breakfast with the two children, the unfortunate Jacky less black 
than he had been the previous night. 

" Now, Jacky," said Brumm, when the meal was over, " get your- 
self ready : it has gone ten. Polly too." 

" It's a'most too cold for Polly this morning," said Mrs. Brumm. 

" Not a bit on't. The walk'll do her good, and give her an appe- . 
tite for dinner. What is for dinner, Bell? I asked you before, but 
you didn't answer." 

"It ain't much thanks to you as there's anything," retorted Mrs. 
Brumm, who rejoiced in the aristocratic name of Arabella. " You 
plant yourself again at the Horned Ram, and see if I worries 
myself to come after you for money. I'll starve on the Sunday, 
first." 

"I can't think what goes ot your money," returned Andrew. 



120 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 

" There had not used to be this fuss if I stopped out for half an 
hour on the Saturday night, with my wages in my pocket. Where 
does yours go to?" 

"It goes in necessaries," shortly answered Mrs. Brumm. But, 
not caring, for reasons of her own, to pursue this particular topic, 
she turned to that of the dinner. " I have half a shoulder of 
mutton, and I'm going to take it to the bake'us with a batter pudden 
under it, and to boil the taters at home." 

" That's capital ! " returned Andrew, gently rubbing his hands. 
" There's nothing nicer than baked mutton and a batter pudden. 
Jacky, brush your hair well : it's as rough as bristles." 

" I had to use a handful of soda to get the dye out," said Mrs. 
Brumm. " Soda's awful stuff for making the hair rough." 

Andrew slipped out to the Honey Fair barber, who did an exten- 
sive business on Sunday morning, to be shaved. When he returned, 
he went up to wash and dress, and finally uncovered a deal box, 
where he was accustomed to find his clean shirt. With all Mrs. 
Brumm's faults, she had neat ways. The shirt was not there. 

" Bell, where's my clean shirt? " he called out from the top of the 
stairs. 

Mrs. Bell Brumm had been listening for the words, and she 
received them with satisfaction. She nodded, winked, and went 
through a little pantomime of ecstasy, to the intense delight of 
the children, who were in the secret, and nodded and winked with 
her. " Clean shirt? " she called back again, as if not understanding. 

" My Sunday shirt ain't here." 

" You haven't got no Sunday shirt to-day." 

Andrew Brumm descended the stairs in consternation. "No 
Sunday shirt! " he repeated. 

"No shirt, nor no collar, nor no handkercher," coolly affirmed 
Mrs. Brumm. " There ain't none ironed. They be all in the wet 
and the rough, wrapped up in an old towel. Jacky and Polly 
haven't nothing either. 

Brumm stared considerably. " Why, what's the meaning of 
that?" 

" The irons are in pawn," shortly answered Mrs. Brumm. " You 
know you never came home with the money, so I couldn't get 'em 
out." 

Another wordy war. Andrew protested she had no " call " to put 
the irons in any such place. She impudently retorted that she 
should put the house in if she liked. 

A hundred such little episodes could be related of the domestic 
life of Honey Fair. 



( 121 ) 



CHAPTER XXilL 

THE MESSRS. BANKES. 

On the Monday morning, a troop of the gloveress girls flocked into 
Charlotte East's. They were taking holiday, as was usual with 
them on Mondays. Charlotte was a favourite. It is true, she 
" bothered " them, as they called it, with good advice, but they 
liked her, in spite of it. Charlotte's kitchen was always tidy and 
peaceful, with a bright fire burning in it : other kitchens would be 
full of bustle and dirt. Charlotte never let them hinder her; she 
worked away at her gloves all the time. Charlotte was a glove- 
maker ; that is, she sewed the fingers together, and put in the 
thumbs, forgits, and quirks. Look at your own gloves, English 
make. The long strips running up inside the fingers, are the 
forgits ; and the little pieces between, where the fingers open, are 
the quirks. The gloves Charlotte was occupied with now, were of a 
very dark green colour, almost black, called corbeau in the trade, 
and they were sewn with white silk. Charlotte's stitches were as 
beautifully regular as though she had used a patent machine. The 
white silk and the fellow glove to the one she was making, lay 
inside a clean white handkerchief doubled upon her lap; other 
gloves, equally well covered, were in a basket at her side. 

The girls had come in noisily, with flushed cheeks and eager 
eyes. Charlotte saw that something was exciting them. They 
liked to tell her of their little difficulties and pleasures. Betsy 
Carter had informed her mother that there was going to be a 
" party " at the Alhambra tea-gardens, if you remember ; and this 
was the point of interest to-day. These "Alhambra tea-gardens," 
however formidable and perhaps suggestive the name, were very 
innocent in reality. They belonged to a quiet roadside inn, half a 
mile from the town, and comprised a large garden and extensive 
lawn. The view from them was beautiful ; -md many a party from 
Helstonleigh, far higher in the scale of society than these girls, 
would go there in summer to take tea and enjoy the view. A 
young, tall, handsome girl of eighteen had drawn her chair close 
to Charlotte's. She was the half-sister of Mark Mason, and had 
her home with him and his wife ; supporting herself, after a fashion, 
by her work. But she was always in debt to them, and she and 
Mrs. Mark did not get along well together. She wore a new shawl, 
and straw bonnet trimmed with blue ribbons : and her dark hair 
fell in glossy ringlets — as was the fashion then. Two other girls 
perched themselves on a table. They were sisters — Amelia and 
Mary Ann Cross; others placed themselves where they could. 
Somewhat light were they in manner, these girls ; free in speech. 
Nothing farther. If an unhappy girl did, by mischance, turn out 



122 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



badly, or, as the expressive phrase had it, " went wrong," she was 
forthwith shunned, and shunned for ever. Whatever may have 
been the faults and failings prevailing in Honey Fair, this sort of 
wrong-doing was not common amongst them. 

" Why, Caroline, that is new ! " exclaimed Charlotte East, alluding 
to the shawl. 

Caroline Mason laughed. " Is it not a beauty? " cried she. And, 
it may be remarked, that in speech and accent she was superior to 
some of the girls. 

Charlotte took a corner of it in her hand. " It must have cost a 
pound, at least," she said. " Is it paid for?" 

Again Caroline laughed. " Never you mind whether it's paid 
for, or not, Charlotte. You won't be called upon for the money 
for it. As I told my sister-in-law yesterday." 

" You did not want it, Caroline ; and I am quite sure you could 
not afford it. Your winter cloak was good yet. It is so bad a 
plan, getting goods on credit. I wish those Bankeses had never 
come near the place ! " 

" Don't you run down Bankes's, Charlotte East," interposed Eliza 
Tyrrett, a very plain girl, with an ill-natured expression of face. 
" We should never get along at all if it wasn't for Bankes's." 

" You would get along all the better," returned Charlotte. " How 
much are they going to charge you for this shawl, Caroline?" 

Caroline and Eliza Tyrrett exchanged peculiar glances. There 
appeared to be some secret between them, connected with the 
shawl. " Oh, a pound, or so," replied Caroline. " What was it, 
Eliza?" 

Eliza Tyrrett burst into a loud laugh, and Caroline echoed it. 
Charlotte East did not press for the answer. But she did press 
the matter against dealing with Bankes's; as she had pressed it 
many a time before. 

A twelvemonth ago, some strangers had opened a linen-draper y s 
shop in a back street of Helstonleigh ; brothers, of the name of 
Bankes. They professed to do business upon credit, and to wait 
upon people at their own homes, after the fashion of hawkers. 
Every Monday would <^ne of them appear in Honey Fair, a great 
pack of goods on his back, which would be opened for inspection 
at each house. Caps, shawls, gown-pieces, calico, flannel, and 
finery, would be displayed in all their fascinations. Now, you who 
are reading this, only reflect on the temptation! The women of 
Honey Fair went into debt ; and it was three parts the work of their 
lives to keep the finery, and the system, from the knowledge of 
their husbands. 

" Pay us so much weekly," Bankes's would say. And the women 
did so : it seemed like getting a gown for nothing. But Bankes's 
were found to be strict in collecting the instalments; and how 
these weekly payments- told upon the wages, I will leave you to 
judge. Some would have many shillings to pay weekly. Charlotte 
East, and a few more prudent ones, spoke against this system ; but 



THE MESSRS. BANKES. 



123 



they made no impression. The temptation was too great. Charlotte 
assumed that this was how Caroline Mason's shawl had been 
obtained. In that, however, she was mistaken. 

" Charlotte, we are going down to Bankes's. There'll be a better 
choice in his shop than in his pack. You have heard of the party 
at the Alhambra. Well, it is to be next Monday, and we want 
to ask you what we shall wear. What would you advise us to get 
for it?" 

" Get nothing," replied Charlotte. " Don't go to Bankes's, and 
don't go to the Alhambra." 

The whole assembly sat in wonder, with open eyes. " Not go to 
the party ! " echoed pert Amelia Cross. " What next, Charlotte East ? " 

" I told you what it would be, if you came into Charlotte East's," 
said Eliza Tyrrett, a sneer on her countenance. 

" I am not against proper amusement, though I don't much care 
for it myself," said Charlotte. " But when you speak of going to 
a party at the Alhambra, somehow it does not sound respectable." 

The girls opened their eyes wider. " Why, Charlotte, what harm 
do you suppose will come to us ? We can take care of ourselves, 
I hope?" 

" It is not that," said Charlotte. " Of course you can. Still it 
does not sound nice. It is like going to a public-house — you can't 
call the Alhambra anything else. It is quite different, this, from 
going there to have tea in the summer. But that's not it, I say. 
If you go to it, you would be running into debt for all sorts of things 
at Bankes's, and get into trouble." 

" My sister-in-law says you are a croaker, Charlotte ; and she's 
right," cried Caroline Mason, with good-humour. 

" Charlotte, it is not a bit of use, your talking," broke in Mary 
Ann Cross vehemently. " We shall go to the party, and we shall 
buy new things for it. Bankes's have some lovely sarcenets, cross- 
barred; green, and pink, and lilac; and me and 'Melia mean to 
have a dress apiece off 'em. With a pink bow in front, and a white 
collar— my ! wouldn't folks stare at us ! — Twelve yards each it would 
take, and they are one-and-eightpence a yard." 

" Mary Ann, it would be just madness ! There'd be the making, 
the lining, and the ribbon : five or six-and-twenty shillings each, 
they would cost you. Pray don't ! " 

" How you do reckon things up, Charlotte ! We should pay off 
weekly : we have time afore us." 

"What would your father say?" 

" Charlotte, just hold your noise about father," quickly returned 
Amelia Cross in a hushed and altered tone. " You know we don't 
tell him about Bankes's." 

e Charlotte found she might as well have talked to the winds. The 
girls were bent upon the evening's pleasure, and also upon the 
smart things they deemed necessary for it. A few minutes more, 
and they left her; and trooped down to the shop of the Messrs. 
Bankes. 



124 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Charlotte was coming home that evening from an errand to the 
town, when she met Adam Thorney croft. He was somewhat above 
the common run of workmen. 

"Oh, is it you, Charlotte?" he exclaimed, stopping her. " I say, 
how is it that you'll never have anything to say to me now ? " 

" I have told you why, Adam," she replied. 

" You have told me a pack of nonsense. I wouldn't lose you, 
Charlotte, to be made king of England. When once we are 
married, you shall see how steady I'll be. I will not enter a public- 
house." 

" You have been saying that you will not for these twelve months 
past, Adam," she sadly rejoined ; and, had her face been visible 
in the dark night, he would have seen that it was working with 
agitation. 

" What does it hurt a man, to go out and take a quiet pipe and a 
glass, after his work's over? Everybody does it." 

" Everybody does not. But I do not wish to contend. It seems 
to bring you no conviction. Half the miseries around us in Honey 
Fair arise from so much of the wages being wasted at the public- 
houses. I know what you would say — that the wives are in fault 
as well. So they are. I do not believe people were sent into the 
world to live as so many of us live : nothing but scuffle, and dis- 
comfort, and — I may almost say it — sinfulness. One of these 
wretched households shall never be mine." 

" My goodness, Charlotte ! How seriously you speak ! n 

"It is a serious subject. I want to try to live so as to do my 
duty by myself and by those around me ; to pass my days in peace 
with the world and with my conscience. A woman beaten down, 
cowed by all sorts of ills, could not do so ; and, where the husband 
is unsteady, she must be beaten down. Adam, you know it is not 
with a willing heart I give you up, but I am forced to it." 

" How can you bring yourself to say this to me?" he rejoined. 

" I don't deny that it is hard," she faintly said, suppressing with 
difficulty her emotion. " This many a week I and duty have been 
having a conflict with each other : but duty has gained the mastery. 
I knew it would, from the first " 

" Duty be smothered ! " interrupted Adam Thorney croft. " I 
shall think you a born natural presently, Charlotte." 

"Yes, I know. I can't help it. Adam, we should never pull 
together, you see. Good-bye ! We can be friends in future, if you 
like ; nothing more." 

She held out her hand to him for a parting salutation. Adam, 
hurt and angry, flung it from him, and turned towards Helstonleigh : 
and Charlotte continued her way home, her tears dropping in the 
dusky night. 



( 125 ) 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

HARD TO BEAR. 

Mrs. Halliburton struggled on. A struggle, my reader, that it 
is to be hoped, for your comfort's sake^ you have never experienced, 
and never will. She had learnt the stitch for the back of the 
gloves, and Mr. Lynn supplied her with a machine, and with work. 
But she could not do it quickly as yet ; though it was a hopeful 
day for her when she found that her weekly earnings amounted to 
six shillings. 

Mrs. Reece paid her twenty shillings a week. Or, rather, Dobbs : 
for Dobbs was paymaster-general. Of that, Jane could use (she 
had made a close calculation) six shillings, putting by fourteen for 
rent and taxes. Her taxes were very light, part of them being 
paid by the landlord, as was the custom with some houses in 
Helstonleigh. But for this, the rent would have been less. Sorely 
tempted as she was, by hunger, by cold, almost by starvation, Jane 
was resolute in leaving the fourteen shillings intact. She had 
suffered too much from non-payment of the last rent, not to be 
prepared with the next. But — the endurance and deprivation! — 
how great they were ! And she suffered far more for her children 
than for herself. 

One night, towards the middle ot February, she felt very down- 
hearted : almost as if she could not struggle on much longer. 
With her own earnings and the six shillings taken from Mrs. 
Reece's money she could count little more than twelve shillings 
weekly, and everything had to be found out of it. Coals, candles, 
washing — that is, the soap, firing, etc., necessary for Miss Betsy 
Carter to do it with ; the boys' shoe-mending and other trifles, 
besides food. You will not, therefore, be surprised to hear that on 
this night they had literally nothing in the house but part of a loaf 
of bread. Jane was resolute in one thing — not to go into debt. 
Mrs. Buffle would have given credit, probably other shops also; 
but Jane believed that her sole chance of surmounting the struggle 
eventually, was by keeping debt, even trifling debt, away. They 
had on this morning eaten bread for breakfast ; they had eaten 
potatoes and salt for dinner; and now, tea-time, there was bread 
again. All Jane had in her pocket was two-pence, which must be 
kept for milk for the following morning, so they were drinking 
water now. 

They were round the fire ; two of the boys kneeling on the ground 
to get the better blaze, thankful that they had a fire at all. Their 
lessons were over for the day. William had been thoroughly well 
brought on by his father, in Greek, Latin, Euclid,' and in English 
generally — in short, in the branches necessary to a good education. 



126 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Frank and Gar were forward also ; indeed, Frank, for his age, was 
a very good Latin scholar. But how could they do much good, or 
make much progress of themselves? William helped his brothers 
as well as he could, but it was somewhat profitless work ; and 
Jane was all too conscious that they needed to be at school. 
Altogether, her heart was sore within her. 

Another thing was beginning to worry her — a fear lest her 
brother should not be able to send the rent. She had fully counted 
upon it ; but, now that the time of its promised receipt was at hand, 
fears and doubts arose. She was dwelling on it now— now, as she 
sat there at her work, in the twilight of the early spring evening. 
If the money did not come, all she could do would be to go to 
Mr. Ashley, tell him of her ill luck, and that he must take the 
things at last. They must turn out, wanderers on the wide earth ; 
no 

A plaintive cry interrupted her dream, and recalled her to reality. 
It came from Jane, who was seated on a stool, her head leaning 
against the side of the mantel-piece. 

" She is crying, mamma," cried quick Frank ; and Janey whispered 
something into Frank's ear, the cry deepening into sobs. 

" Mamma, she's crying because she's hungry." 

" Janey, dear, I have nothing but bread. You know it. Could 
you eat a bit ? " 

" I want something else," sobbed Janey. " Some meat, or some 
pudding. It is such a long time since we had any. I am tired of 
bread ; I am very hungry." 

There came an echoing cry from the other side of the fire-place. 
Gar had laid his head down on the floor, and he now broke out, 
sobbing also. 

" I am hungry, too. I don't like bread any more than Janey does. 
When shall we have something nice ? " 

Jane gathered them to her, one in each arm, soothing them with 
soft caresses, her heart aching, her own sobs choked down, one 
single comfort present to her — that God knew what she had to bear. 

Almost she began to fear for her own health. Would the intense 
anxiety, combined with the want of sufficient food, tell upon her ? 
Would her sleepless nights tell upon her ? Would her grief for the 
loss of her husband — a grief not the less keenly felt because she did 
not parade it — tell upon her ? All that lay in the future. 

She rose the next morning early to her work ; she always had to 
rise early — the boys and Jane setting the breakfast. Breakfast! 
Putting the bread upon the table and taking in the milk. For two- 
pence they had a quart of skimmed milk, and were glad to get it. 
Her head was heavy, her frame hot, the result of inward fever, her 
limbs were tired before the day began ; worse than all, there was 
that utter weariness of mind which predisposes a sufferer from it 
to lie down and die. " This will never do," thought Jane; " I must 
bear up." 

A dispute between Frank and Gar! They were good, affec- 



HARD TO BEAR. 



127 



donate boys ; but little tempers must break out now and then. In 
trying to settle it, Jane burst into tears. It put an end to the fray 
more effectually than anything else could have done. The boys 
looked blank with consternation, and Janey burst into hysterical 
sobs. 

" Don't, Jane, don't," said the poor mother ; " I am not well; but 
do not you cry." 

" I am not well, either," sobbed Janey. " It hurts me here, and 
here." She put her hand to her head and chest, and Jane knew that 
she was weak from long-continued insufficiency of food. There was 
no remedy for it. Jane only wished she could bear for them all. 

Some time after breakfast there came the postman's knock at the 
door. A thickish letter — twopence to pay. The penny postal system 
had come in, but letters were not so universally prepaid then as they 
are now. 

Jane glanced over it with a beating heart. Yes, it was her brother's 
handwriting. Could the promised rent have really arrived ? She 
felt sick with agitation. 

" I have no money at all, Frank. Ask Dobbs if she will lend you 
twopence." 

Away went Frank, in his quick and not very ceremonious man- 
ner, penetrating to the kitchen, where Dobbs happened to be. 
"Dobbs, will you please to lend mamma twopence? It is for a 
letter." 

" Dobbs, indeed ! Who's ' Dobbs ' ? " retorted that functionary in 
wrath, "tarn Mrs. Dobbs, if you please. Take yourself out of my 
sight till you can learn manners." 

" Won't you lend it ? The postman's waiting." 

" No, I won't," returned Dobbs. 

Back ran Frank. " She won't lend it, mamma. She says I was 
rude to her, and called her Dobbs." 

" Oh, Frank ! " But the postman was impatient, demanding 
whether he was to be kept there all day. Jane was fain to apply to 
Dobbs herself, and procured the loan. Then she ran upstairs with 
the letter, and her trembling fingers broke the seal. Two bank- 
notes, for 10/. each, fell out of it. The promised loan had been 
sixteen pounds. The Rev. Francis Tait had contrived to spare four 
pounds more. 

Before Jane had recovered from her excitement — almost before "a 
breath of thanks had gone up from her heart— she saw Mr. Ashley 
on the opposite side of the road, going towards Helstonleigh. Being 
in no state to weigh her actions, only conscious that the two notes 
lay in her hand — actual realities — she threw on her bonnet and 
shawl, and went across the road to Mr. Ashley. In her agitation, 
she scarcely knew what she did or said. 

" Oh, sir — I beg your pardon — but I have at this moment received 
the money for the back rent. May I give it to you now ? " 

Mr. Ashley looked at her in surprise. A scarlet spot shone on 
her thin cheeks — a happy excitement was spread over her face of 



128 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



care. He read the indications plainly — that she was an eager payer, 
but no willing debtor. The open letter in her hand, and the postman 
opposite, told the tale. 

" There is no such hurry, Mrs. Halliburton," he said, smiling. " I 
cannot give you a receipt here." 

" You can send it to me," she said. " I would rather pay you than 
Mr. Dare." 

She held out the notes to him. He felt in his pocket whether he 
had sufficient change, found he had, and handed it to her. "That 
is it, madam — four sovereigns. Thank you." 

She took them hesitatingly, but did not close her hand. " Was 
there not some expense incurred when — when that man was put in ? " 

" Not for you to pay, Mrs. Halliburton," he pointedly returned. 
" I hope you are getting pretty well through your troubles ? " 

The tears came into her eyes, and she turned them away. Getting 
pretty well through her troubles ! " Thank you for inquiring," she 
meekly said. " I shall, I believe, have the quarter's rent ready in 
March, when it falls due." 

"Do not put yourself out of the way to pay it," he replied. "If 
it would be more convenient to you to let it go on to the half-year, 
it would be the same to me." 

Her heart rose to the kindness. " Thank you, Mr. Ashley, thank 
you very much for your consideration ; but I must pay as I go on, 
if I possibly can." 

Patience stood at her gate, smiling, as she recrossed the road. 
She had seen what had passed. 

" Thee hast good news, I see. But thee wert in a hurry, to pay 
thy rent in the road." 

" My brother has sent me the rent, and four pounds over. Patience, 
I can buy bedside carpets now." 

Patience looked pleased. " With all thy riches, thee will scarcely 
thank me for this poor three and sixpence," holding out the silver to 
her. " Samuel Lynn left it ; it is owing thee for thy work." 

Jane smiled sadly as she took it. Her riches ! " How is Anna ? " 
she asked. 

" She is nicely, thank thee, and is gone to school. But she was 
wilful over her lessons this morning. Farewell. I am glad thee art 
so far out of thy perplexities." 

Very far, indeed ; and a great relief it was. Can you realize these 
troubles of Mrs. Halliburton's ? Not, I think, as she realized them. 
We pity the trials and endurance of the poor ; but, believe me, they 
are as nothing compared with the bitter lot of reduced gentlepeople. 
Jane had not been brought up to poverty, to scanty and hard fare, 
to labour, to humiliations, to the pain of debt. But for hope — and 
some of us know how strong that is in the human heart — and for 
that better hope, trust, Jane never could have gone through her 
trials. Her physical privations alone were almost too hard to bear. 
Can you wonder that an unexpected present of four pounds seemed 
as a mine of wealth ? 



( 129 ) 



CHAPTER XXV. 

INCIPIENT VANITY. 

But four pounds, however large a sum to look at, dwindles down 
sadly in the spending ; especially when bedside carpets, and boys' 
boots — new ones, and the mending of old ones — have to be deducted 
from it at the commencement. An idea had for some time been 
looming in Jane's mind ; looming ominously, for she did not like to 
speak of it. It was, that William must go out and enter upon some 
employment, by which a little weekly money might be added to their 
stock. He was eager enough ; indulging, no doubt, boy-like, peculiar 
visions of his own, great and grand. But these Jane had to dispel ; 
to explain that for young boys, such as he, earning money implied 
hard work. 

His face flushed scarlet. Jane drew him to her, and pressed her 
cheek upon his. 

" There would be no real disgrace in it, my darling. No work in 
itself brings disgrace ; be it carrying abroad parcels, or sweeping 
out a shop. So long as we retain our refinement of speech, of 
manner, our courteous conduct one to the other, we shall still be 
gentlepeople, let us work at what we may. William, I think it is 
your duty to help in our need." 

" Yes, I see, mamma," he answered. " I will try and do it ; any- 
thing that may turn up." 

Jane had not much faith in things " turning up." She believed 
that they must be sought for. That same evening she went into Mr. 
Lynn's, with the view of asking his counsel. There she found Anna 
in trouble. The cause was as follows. 

Patience, leaving Anna alone at her lessons, had gone into the 
kitchen to give some directions to Grace. Anna seized the oppor- 
tunity to take a little recreation : not that it was greatly needed, for 
— spoilt child that she was ! — she had merely looked at her books 
with vacant eyes, not having in reality learned a single word. First 
Of all, off went her cap. Next, she drew from her pocket a small 
mirror, about the size of a five-shilling piece. Propping this against 
her books on the table before her, so that the rays of the lamp might 
fall upon it, she proceeded to admire herself, and twist her flowing 
hair round her pretty fingers, to make a shower of ringlets. Sad 
vanity for a little born Quakeress ! But it must be owned that never 
did mirror, small or large, give back a more lovely image than that 
child's. She had just arranged her curls, and was contemplating 
their effect to her entire satisfaction, when back came Patience, 
Sooner than she was expected, and caught the young lady at her 
impromptu toilette. What with the curls and what with the mirror, 
Anna did not know which to hurry away first. 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 9 



130 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES, 

" Thee naughty child ! thee naughty, naughty child ! What is to 
become of thee ? Where did thee get this ? " 

Anna burst into tears. In her perplexity she said she had " found " 
the mirror. 

" That thee did not," said Patience calmly. " I ask thee where 
thee got it from ? " 

Of a remarkably pliant nature, wavering and timid, Anna never 
withstood long the persistent questioning of Patience. Amid many 
tears, the truth came out. Lucy Dixon had brought it to school in 
her workbox. It was a doll's mirror, and she, Anna, had given her 
sixpence for it. 

" The sixpence that thy father bestowed upon thee yesterday for 
being a good girl," retorted Patience. " I told him thee would likely 
not make a profitable use of it. Come up to bed with thee ! I will 
talk to thee after thee are in it." 

Of all things, Anna disliked to be sent to bed before her time. 
She sobbed, expostulated, and promised all sorts of amendment for 
the future. Patience, firm and quiet, would have carried her point, 
but for the entrance of Samuel Lynn. The fault was related^ to 
him by Patience, and the mirror exhibited. Anna clung around him 
in a storm of sobs. 

" Dear father! dear, dear father, don't thee let me go to bed! 
Let me sit by thee while thee hast thy supper. Patience may keep 
the glass, but don't thee let me go." 

It was quite a picture — the child clinging there with her crim- 
soned cheeks, her wet eyelashes, and her soft, flowing hair. Samuel 
Lynn, albeit a man not given to demonstration, strained her to him 
with a loving movement. Perhaps the crime of looking into a doll's 
glass and toying with her hair, appeared to him more venial than 
it did to Patience ; but then, she was his beloved child. " Will thee 
transgress again, Anna ? " 

"No, I never will," sobbed Anna. 

"Then Patience will suffer thee to sit up this once. But thee 
must be careful." 

He placed her in a chair close to him. Patience, disapproving 
very much, but saying nothing, left the room. Grace appeared with 
the supper-tray, and a message that Patience would take her supper 
in the kitchen. It was at this juncture that Mrs. Halliburton came 
in. She told the Quaker that she had come to consult him about 
William ; and mentioned her intentions. 

" To tell thee the truth, friend, I have marvelled much that thee 
did not, under thy circumstances, seek to place out thy eldest son," 
was the answer. " He might be helping thee." 

" He is young to earn anything, Mr. Lynn. Do you see a chance 
of my getting him a place ? " 

" That depends, friend, upon the sort of place he may wish for. 
I could help him to a place to-morrow. But it is one that may not. 
accord with thy notions." 

" What is it ? " eagerly asked Jane. 



INCIPIENT VANITY. 



"It is in Thomas Ashley's manufactory. We are in want of 
another boy, and the master told me to-day I had better inquire 
for one." 

" What would he have to do ? " asked Jane. " And what would 
he earn ? " 

"He would have to do anything he may be directed to do. Thy 
son is older than are our boys who come to us ordinarily, and he 
has been differently brought up ; therefore I might put him to some- 
what better employment. He might also be paid a trifle more. 
They sweep and dust, go on outdoor errands, carry messages 
indoors, black the gloves, get in coal; and they earn, if they are 
sharp, half-a-crown a week." 

Jane's heart sank within her. 

" But thy son, I say, might be treated somewhat differently. Not 
that he must be above doing any of these duties, should he be 
put to them. I can assure thee, friend, that some of the first 
manufacturers of this town have thus t>egun their career. A 
thoroughly practical knowledge of the business is only to be ac- 
"quired by beginning at the first step of the ladder, and working 
upwards." 

" Did Mr. Ashley so begin ? " She could scarcely tell why she 
asked the question. Unless it was that a feeling came over her that 
if Mr. Ashley had done these things, she would not mind William's 
doing them. 

" No, friend. Thomas Ashley's father was a man of means, and 
Thomas was bred up a classical scholar and a gentleman. He has 
never taken a practical part in the working of the business : I do 
that for him. His labours are chiefly confined to the correspondence 
and the keeping of the books. His father wished him to embrace 
a profession, rather than to be a glove manufacturer : but Thomas 
preferred to succeed his father. If thee would like thy son to enter 
our manufactory, I will try him." 

Jane was dubious. She felt quite sure that William would not 
like it. " He has been thinking of a counting-house, or a lawyer's 
or conveyancer's office," she said aloud. "He would like to employ 
his time in writing. Would there be difficulty in getting him into 
one ? " 

" I do not opine a lawyer would take a boy of his size. They 
require their writing to be well and correctly done. About that, 
I cannot tell thee much, for I have nothing to do with lawyers. He 
can inquire." 

Jane rose. She stood by the table, unconsciously stroking Anna's 
flowing curls — for the cap had never been replaced, and Samuel 
Lynn found no fault with the omission. " I will speak candidly," 
said Jane. " I fear that the place you have kindly offered me would 
not be liked by William. Other employments, writing for example, 
would be more palatable. Nevertheless, were he unable to obtain 
anything else, I , should be glad to accept this. Will you give me 
three or four days for consideration ? n 



lyl MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"To oblige thee, I will, friend. When Thomas Ashley gives 
orders, he is prompt in having them attended to ; and he spoke, as 
I have informed thee, about a fresh boy to-day. Would it not be 
a help to thee, friend, if thee got thy other two boys into the school 
attached to the cathedral ? " 

" But I have no interest," said Jane. " I hear that education 
there is free ; but I do not possess the slightest chance." 

" Thee may get a chance, friend. There's nothing like trying. 
I must tell thee that the school is not thought highly of, in con- 
sequence of the instruction being confined exclusively to Latin and 
Greek. In the old days this was thought enough ; but people are 
now getting more enlightened. Thomas Ashley was educated there ; 
but he had a private tutor at home for the branches not taught at 
the college ; he had also masters for what are called accomplish- 
ments. He is one of the most accomplished men of the day. Few 
are so thoroughly and comprehensively educated as is Thomas 
Ashley. I have heard say thy sons have begun Latin. It might be 
a help to them if they could get in." 

" I should desire nothing better," Jane breathlessly rejoined, a 
new hope penetrating her heart. " I have heard of the collegiate 
school here ; but, until very recently, I supposed it to be an expen- 
sive institution." 

" No, friend ; it is free. The best way to get a boy in, is by 
making interest with the head-master of the school, or with some 
of the cathedral clergy." 

A recollection of Mr. Peach flashed into Jane's mind as a ray 
of light. She bade good-night to Samuel Lynn and Anna, and to 
Patience as she passed the kitchen. Patience had been crying. 

" I am grieved about Anna," she explained. " I love the child 
dearly, but Samuel Lynn is blind to her faults ; and it argues badly 
for the future. Thee cannot imagine half her vanity ; I fear me, 
too, she is deceitful. I wish her father could see it! I wish he 
would indulge her less, and correct her more ! Good night to thee." 

Before concluding the chapter, it may as well be mentioned that 
a piece of good fortune about this time befell Janey. She found 
favour with Dobbs ! How it came about, perhaps Dobbs could not 
herself have told. Certainly no one else could. 

Mrs. Reece had got into the habit of asking Jane into her parlour 
to tea. She was a kind-hearted old lady and liked the child. 
Dobbs would afterwards be at work, generally some patching and 
mending to her own clothes; and Dobbs, though she would not 
acknowledge it, to herself or to any one else, could not see to 
thread her needle. Needle in one hand and thread in the other, 
she would poke the two together for five minutes, no result super- 
vening. Janey hit upon the plan of threading her a needle in 
silence, while Dobbs used the one; and from that time Jane kept 
her in threaded needles. Whether this conciliated Dobbs, must 
remain a mystery, but she took a liking for Jane ; and the liking 
grew into love. Henceforth Janey wanted for nothing. While 



MR. ASHLEY'S MANUFACTORY. 133 



the others starved, she lived on the fat of the land. Meat and 
pudding, fowls and pastry, whatever dinner in the parlour might 
consist of, Janey had her share of it, and a full share too. At first 
Mrs. Halliburton, from motives of delicacy, would not allow Jane to 
go in ; upon which Dobbs would enter, boiling over with indigna- 
tion, red with the exertion of cooking, and triumphantly bear her 
off. Jane spoke seriously to Mrs. Reece about it, but the old lady 
declared she was as glad to have the child as Dobbs was. 

Once, Janey came to a standstill over some apple pudding, which 
had followed upon veal cutlets and bacon. " I am quite full," said 
she, more plainly than politely : " I can't eat a bit more. May I 
give this piece upon my plate to Gar ? " 

"No, you may not," snapped Dobbs, drowning Mrs. Reece's 
words, that she might give it and welcome. " How dare you, 
Janey ? You know that boys is the loadstones of my life." 

Dobbs probably used the word loadstones to indicate a heavy 
weight. She seized the plate of pudding and finished it herself, lest 
it should find its way to the suggested quarter — a self-sacrifice which 
served to show her earnestness in the cause. Nothing gave Dobbs 
indigestion like apple pudding, and she knew she should be a martyr 
for four-and-twenty hours afterwards. 

Thus Jane, at least, suffered from henceforth no privations, and 
for this Mrs. Halliburton was very thankful. The time was to 
come, however, when she would have cause to be more so. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

MR. ASHLEY'S MANUFACTORY. 

The happy thought, suggested "by Samuel Lynn, Jane carried out. 
She applied in person to Mr. Peach, and he obtained an immediate 
entrance for Frank to the college school, with a promise for Gar 
to enter at quarter-day, the 25th of March. He was perfectly 
thunderstruck when he found that his old friend and tutor, Mr. 
Halliburton, was dead ; had died in Helstonleigh ; and that he — 
he!— had buried him. There was no need to ask him twice, after 
that, to exert his interest for the fatherless children. The school 
(I have told you what it was many years ago) was not held in the 
highest repute, from the cause spoken of by Samuel Lynn ; vacan- 
cies often occurred, and admission was easy. It was one great 
weight off Jane's mind. 

William was not so fortunate. He was at that period very short 
for his age, timid in manner, and no office could be persuaded to 
take him. Nothing in the least congenial to him presented itself, 
or could be found ; and the result was, that he resigned himself to 
Samuel Lynn, who introduced him to Mr. Ashley's extensive manu- 
factory — to be initiated by degrees into all the mysteries necessary 



134 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



to convert a skin into a glove. And, although his interest and 
curiosity were excited by what he saw, he pronounced it a "hateful" 
business. 

When the skins came in from the leather-dressers they were 
washed in a tub of cold water. The next day warm water, mixed 
with yolks of eggs, was poured on them, and a couple of men, 
bare-legged to the knee, got into the tub, and danced upon them, 
skins, eggs, and water, for two hours. Then they were spread in a 
field to dry ? till they were as hard as lantern horn ; then they were 
" staked," as it was called — a long process, to smooth and soften 
them. To the stainers next, to be stained black or coloured ; next 
to the parers, to have the loose flesh pared from the inside, and to 
be smoothed again with pumice-stone — all this being done on the 
outside premises. Then they came inside, to" the hands of one of 
the foremen, who sorted and marked them for the cutters. The 
cutters cut the skins into tranks (the shape of the hand in outline) 
with the separate thumbs and forgits, and sent them into the slitters. 
The slitters slit the four fingers, and shaped the thumbs and forgits: 
after that, they were ready for the women — three different women, 
you may remember, being necessary to turn out each glove, so far 
as the sewing went ; for one woman rarely worked at more than 
her own peculiar branch, or was capable of working at it. This 
done, and back in the manufactory again, they had to be pulled 
straight, and " padded," or rubbed, a process by which they were 
brightened. If black gloves, the seams were washed over with a 
black dye, or else glazed ; then they were hung up to dry. This 
done, they went into Samuel Lynn's room, a large room next to 
Mr. Ashley's private room, and here they were sorted into firsts, 
seconds, or thirds ; the sorting being always done by Samuel Lynn, 
or by James Meeking, the head foreman. It was called "making- 
up." Next they were banded round with a paper in dozens, labelled, 
and placed in small boxes, ready for the warehouses in London. A 
great deal, you see, before one pair of gloves can be turned Out. 

The first morning that William went at six o'clock with Samuel 
Lynn, he was ordered to light the fire in Mr. Ashley's room, 
sweep it out, and dust it, first of all sprinkling the floor with 
water from a watering-pot. And this was to be part of his work 
every morning at present ; Samuel Lynn giving him strict charge 
never to disturb anything on Mr. Ashley's desk. If he moved 
things to dust the desk, he was to lay them down again in the 
same places and in the same position. The duster consisted of 
some leather shreds tied up into a knot, the ends loose. He found 
he should have to wait on Mr. Ashley and Samuel Lynn, bring 
things they wanted, carry messages to the men, and go out when 
sent. A pair of shears, which he could not manage, was put into 
his hand, and he had to cut a damaged skin, useless for gloves, 
into narrow strips, standing at one of the counters in Samuel Lynn's 
room. William wondered whether they were to make another 
duster, but he found they were used in the manufactory in place 



MR. ASHLEY'S MANUFACTORY. 



135 



of string. That done, a round, polished stick was handed to him, 
tapered at either end, which he had to pass over and over some 
small gloves to make them smooth, after the manner of a cook 
rolling out paste for a pie. He looked with dismay at the two 
young errand boys of the establishment, who were black with dye. 
But Samuel Lynn had distinctly told him that he would not be 
expected to place himself on their level. The rooms were for the 
most part very light, one or two sides being entirely of glass. 

On the evening of this first day, William, after he got home, sat 
there in sad heaviness. His mother asked how he liked his em- 
ployment, and he returned an evasive answer. Presently he rose to 
go to bed, saying he had a headache. Up he went to the garret, 
and flung himself down on the mattress, sobbing as if his heart 
would break. Jane, suspecting something of this, followed him up. 
She caught him in her arms. 

" Oh, my darling, don't give way ! Things may grow brighter 
after a time." 

" It is such a dreadful change ! — from my books, my Latin and 
Greek, to go there and sweep out places like those two black boys ! " 
he said hysterically, all his reticence gone. 

" My dear boy ! my darling boy ! I know not how to reconcile 
you, how to lessen your cares. Your experience of the sorrow of 
life is beginning early. You are hungry, too." 

" I am always hungry," answered William, quite unable to affect 
concealment in that hour of grief. " I heard one of those black 
boys say he had boiled pork and greens for dinner. I did so envy 
him." 

Jane checked her tears; they were rising rebelliously. " William, 
darling, your lot seems just now very dark and painful, but it might 
be worse." 

"Worse!" he echoed in surprise. "How could it be worse? 
Mamma, I am no better than an errand-boy there." 

" It would be worse, William, if you were one of those poor black 
boys. Unenlightened ; no wish for higher things ; content to remain 
as they are for ever." 

" But that could never be," he urged. " To be content with such 
a life is impossible." 

" They are content, William." 

He saw the drift of the argument. " Yes, mamma," he acknow- 
ledged; " I did not reflect. It would be worse if I were quite as 
they are." 

" William, we can only bear our difficulties, and make the best 
of them, trusting to surmount them in the end. You and I must 
both do this. Trust is different from hope. If we only hope, we 
may lose courage; but if we fully and freely trust, we cannot. 
Patience and perseverance, endurance and trust, they will in the 
end triumph; never fear. If I feared, William, I should go into 
the grave with despair. I never lose my trust. I never lose my 
conviction, firm and certain, that God is watching over me, that 



136 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



He is permitting these trials for some wise purpose, and that in His 
own good time we shall be brought through them." 
William's sobs were growing lighter. 

" The time may come when we shall be at ease again," continued 
Jane; "when we shall look back on this time of trial, and be 
thankful that we did bear up and surmount it, instead of fainting 
under the burden. God will take care that the battle is not too 
hot for us, if we only resign ourselves, in all trust, to do the best. 
The future is grievously dim and indistinct. As the guiding light 
in your papa's dream shone only on one step at a time, so can I see 
only one step before me." 

" What step is that?" he asked somewhat eagerly. 

" The one obvious step before me is to persevere, as I am now 
doing, to try and retain this home for you, my children ; to work 
as I can, so as to keep you around me. I must strive to keep you 
together, and you must help me. Bear up bravely, William. Make 
the best of this unpleasant employment and its mortifications, and 
strive to overcome your repugnance to it. Be resolute, my boy, in 
doing your duty in it, because it is your duty, and because, William 
— because it is helping your mother." 

A shadow of the trust, so firm in his mother's heart, began to 
dawn in his. " Yes, it is my duty," he resolutely said. " I will try 
to do it — to hope and trust." 

Jane strained him to her. " Were you and I to give way now, 
darling, our past troubles would have been borne for nothing. Let 
us, I repeat, look forward to the time when we may say, ' We did 
not faint; we battled on, and overcame.' It will come, William. 
Only trust to God." 

She quitted him, leaving him to reflection and resolve scarcely 
befitting his young years. 

The week wore on to its close. On the Saturday night, William, 
his face flushed, held out four shillings to his mother. " My week's 
wages, mamma." 

Jane's face flushed also. " It is more than I expected, William, 
she said. " I fancied you would have three." 

u I think the master fixed the sum," said William. 

" The master? Do you mean Mr. Ashley? " 

" We never say 6 Mr. Ashley ' in the manufactory ; we say ' the 
master.' Mr. Lynn was paying the wages to-night. I heard them 
say that sometimes Mr. Lynn paid them, and sometimes James 
Meeking. Those two black boys have half-a-crown a-piece. He 
left me to the last, and when the rest were gone, he looked at me, 
and took up three shillings. Then he seemed to hesitate, and 
suddenly he locked the desk and went into the master's room, and 
spoke with him. He came back in a minute, unlocked the desk, 
and gave me four shillings. 6 Thee hast not earned it,' he said, 
i but I think thee hast done thy best. Thee will have the same 
each week, so long as thee does so.' " 

Jane held the four shillings, and felt that she was growing quite 



MR. ASHLEY'S MANUFACTORY. 



137 



rich. The rest crowded round to look. "Can't we have a nice 
dinner to-morrow with it ? " said one. 

" I think we must," said Jane cheerily. " A nice dinner, for once 
in a way. What shall it be ? " 

" Roast beef," called out Frank. 

" Pork with crackling," suggested Janey. " That of Mrs. Reece's 
yesterday was so good." 

" Couldn't we have fowls and a jam pudding? " asked Gar. 

Jane smiled and kissed him. All the suggestions were beyond 
her purse. " We will have a meat pudding," she said ; " that's 
best." And the children cheerfully acquiesced. They had implicit 
faith in their mother ; they knew that what she said was best, would 
be best. 

On this same Saturday night Charlotte East was returning home 
from Helstonleigh, an errand having taken her thither after dark. 
Almost opposite to the turning to Honey Fair, a lane branched 
off, leading to some farm-houses ; a lane, green and pleasant in 
summer, but bare and uninviting now. Two people turned into 
it as Charlotte looked across. She caught only a glance; but 
something in the aspect of both struck upon her as familiar. A 
gas-lamp at the corner shed a light upon the spot, and Charlotte 
suddenly halted, and stood endeavouring to peer further. But 
they were soon out of view. A feeling of dismay had stolen over 
Charlotte. She hoped she was mistaken ; that the parties were not 
those she had fancied ; and she slowly continued her way. A few 
paces more, -she turned up the road leading to Honey Fair, and 
found herself nearly knocked over by one who came running against 
her, apparently in some excitement, and in a great hurry. 

" Who's this ? " cried the voice of Eliza Tyrrett. " Charlotte 
East, I declare! I say, have you seen anything of Caroline 
Mason?" 

Charlotte hesitated. She hoped she had not seen her; though 
the misgiving was upon her that she had. " Did you think I might 
have seen her? " she returned. " Has she come this way? " 

" Yes, I expect she has come this way, and I want to find her," 
returned Eliza Tyrrett vehemently. " I saw her making off out of 
Honey Fair, and I saw who was waiting for her round the corner. 
I knew my company wasn't wanted then, and I turned into Dame 
Buffle's for a talk ; and there I found that Madam Carry have been 
telling falsehoods about me. Let me set on to her, that's all ! I 
shall say what she won't like." 

" Who do you mean was waiting for her ? " inquired Charlotte East. 

Eliza Tyrrett laughed. She was beginning to recover her temper. 
"You'd like to know, wouldn't you?" said she pertly. "But I'm 
not going to tell tales out of school." 

" I think I do know," returned Charlotte quietly. " I fear I do." 

" Do you? I thought nobody knew nothing about it but me. It 
has been going on this ten weeks. Did you see her, though, 
Charlotte?" 



138 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" I thought I saw her, but I could not believe my eyes. She was 
with — with — some one that she has no business to be with." 

" Oh, as to business, I don't know about that," carelessly 
answered Eliza Tyrrett. " We have a right to walk with anybody 
we like." 

" Whether it is good or bad for you ? " returned Charlotte. 

" There's no ' bad ' in it," cried Eliza Tyrrett indignantly. " I 
never saw such an old maid as you are, Charlotte East, never! 
Carry Mason's not a child, to be led into mischief." 

" Carry's very foolish," was Charlotte's comment. 

" Oh, of course you think so, or it wouldn't be you. You'll go 
and tell upon her at home, I suppose, now." 

" I shall tell her? said Charlotte. " Folks should choose their 
acquaintances in their own class of life, if they want things to turn 
out pleasantly." 

" Were you not all took in about that shawl ! " uttered Eliza 
Tyrrett, with a laugh. " You thought she went in debt for it at 
Bankes's, and her people at home thought so. Het Mason shrieked 
on at her like anything, for spending money on her back while she 
owed it for her board. He gave her that." 

" Eliza Tyrrett ! " 

" He did. Law, where's the harm ? He is rich enough to give 
all us girls in Honey Fair one a- piece, and who'd be the worse for 
it ? Only his pocket ; and that can afford it. I wish he would ! " 

" I wish you would not talk so, Eliza. She is not a fit companion 
for him, even though it is but to take a walk; and she ought to 
remember that she is not." 

" He wants her for a longer companion than that," observed Eliza 
Tyrrett ; " that is, if he tells true. He wants her to marry him." 

" He — wants her to marry him ! " repeated Charlotte, speaking 
the words in sheer amazement. " Who says so ? " 

"He does. I should hardly think he can be in earnest, though." 

" Eliza Tyrrett, we cannot be speaking of the same person," cried 
Charlotte, feeling bewildered. " To whom have you been alluding ? " 

" To the same that you have, I expect. Young Anthony Dare." 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

THE FORGOTTEN LETTER. 

It was the last day of March, and five o'clock in the afternoon. 
The great bell had rung in Mr. Ashley's manufactory, the signal 
for the men to go to their tea. Scuffling feet echoed to it from 
all parts, and clattered down the stairs on their way out. The 
ground floor was not used for the indoor purposes of the manu- 
factory, the business being carried on in the first and second floors. 
The first flight of stairs opened into what was called the serving- 



THE FORGOTTEN LETTER. 



139 



room, a very large apartment; through this, on the right, branched 
off Mr. Ashley's room and Samuel Lynn's. On the left, various 
passages led to other rooms, and the upper flight of stairs was 
opposite to the entrance-stairs. The serving-counter, running com- 
pletely across the room, formed a barrier between the serving-room 
and the entrance staircase. 

The men flocked into the serving-room, passed it, and rattled 
down the stairs. Samuel Lynn was changing his coat to follow, 
and William Halliburton was waiting for him, his cap on, for he 
walked to and fro with the Quaker, when Mr. Ashley's voice was 
heard from his room; the counting-house, as it was frequently 
called. 

" William ! " It was usual to distinguish the boys by their Chris- 
tian name only; the men by both their Christian and surnames. 
Samuel Lynn was ".Mr. Lynn." 

" Did thee not hear the master calling to thee ? " 

William had certainly heard Mr. Ashley's voice; but it was so 
-unusual for him to be called by it, that he had paid no attention. 
He had very little communication with Mr. Ashley ; in the three or 
four weeks he had now been at the manufactory, Mr. Ashley had 
not spoken to him a dozen words. He hastened into the counting- 
house, taking off his cap in the presence of Mr. Ashley. 

" Have the men gone to tea ! " inquired Mr. Ashley, who was 
sealing a letter. 

" Yes, sir," replied William. 

"Is George Dance gone?" George Dance was an apprentice, 
and it was his business to take the letters to the post. 

" They are all gone, sir, except Mr. Lynn ; and James Meeking, 
who is waiting to lock up." 

" Do you know the post-office ? " 

" Oh, yes, sir. It is in West Street, at the other end of the town." 
" Take this letter, and put it carefully in." 

William received the letter from Mr. Ashley, and dropped it into 
his jacket pocket. It was addressed to Bristol ; the London mail- 
bags were already made up. Mr. Ashley put on his hat and de- 
parted, followed by Samuel Lynn and William. James Meeking 
locked up, as it was his invariable business to do, and carried the 
keys into his own house. He inhabited part of the ground floor of 
the premises. 

" Are thee not coming home with me this evening ? " inquired 
Samuel Lynn of William, who was turning off the opposite way. 

" No ; the master has given me a letter to post. I have also an 
errand to do for my mother." 

It happened (things do happen in a curious sort of way in this 
world) that Mrs. Halliburton had desired William to bring her in 
some candles and soap at tea-time, and to purchase them at Lockett's 
shop. Lockett's shop was rather far off ; there were others nearer ; 
but Lockett's goods were of the best quality, and his extensive trade 
enabled him to sell a halfpenny a pound cheaper. A halfpenny was 



Ho MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES, 



a halfpenny with Jane then. William went on his way, walking 
fast. 

As he was passing the cathedral, he came into contact with the 
college boys, then just let out of school. It was the first day that 
Gar had joined; he had received his appointment, according to 
promise. Very thankful was Jane; in spite of the drawback of 
having to provide them with good linen surplices. William halted 
to see if he could discern Gar amidst the throng : it was not unna- 
tural that he should look for him. 

One of the boys caught sight of William standing there. It was 
Cyril Dare, the third son of Mr. Dare, a boy older and considerably 
bigger than William. 

" If there's not another of that Halliburton lot, posted there ! " 
cried he, to a knot of those around. " Perhaps he will be coming 
amongst us next — because we have not enough with the two ! Look 
at the fellow, staring at us! He is a common errand-boy at 
Ashley's." 

Frank Halliburton, who, little as he was, wanted neither for spirit 
nor pluck, heard the words, and confronted Cyril Dare. " That is 
my brother," said he. " What have you to say against him ? " 

Cyril Dare cast a glance of scorn on Frank, regarding him from 
top to toe. " You audacious young puppy ! I say he is a snob. 
There!" 

" Then I say he is not," retorted Frank. " You are one yourself, 
for saying it." 

Cyril Dare, big enough to have crushed Frank to death, speedily 
had him on the ground, and treated him not very mercifully when 
there. William, a witness to this, but not understanding it, pushed 
his way through the crowd to protect Frank. All he saw was, that 
Frank was down, and two big boys were kicking him. 

" Let him alone ! " cried he. " How can you be so cowardly as 
to attack a little fellow ? And two of you ! Shame ! " 

Now, if there was one earthly thing that the college boys would 
not brook, it was being interfered with by a stranger. William 
suffered. Frank's treatment had been nothing to what he had to 
submit to. He was knocked down, trampled on, kicked, buffeted, 
abused ; Cyril Dare being the chief and primary aggressor. At 
that moment the under-master came in view, and the boys made 
off — all except Cyril Dare. 

Reined in against the wall, at a few yards' distance, was a lad on 
a pony. He had delicately expressive features, large soft brown 
eyes, a complexion too bright for health, and wavy dark hair. The 
face was beautiful ; but two upright lines were indented in the white 
forehead, as if worn there by pain, and the one ungloved hand was 
white and thin. He was as old as William within a year; but, 
slight and fragile, would be taken to be much younger. Seeing and 
hearing — though not very clearly — what had passed, he touched his 
pony, and rode up to Cyril Dare. The latter was beginning to walk 
away leisurely, in the wake of his companions : the upper boys were 



The forgotten letter. 



141 



rather fond of ignoring the presence of the under-master. Cyril 
turned at hearing himself called. 

"What! Is it you, Henry Ashley? Where did you spring 
from?" 

"Cyril Dare," was the answer, " you are a wretched coward." 

Cyril Dare was feeling anger yet, and the words did not lessen it. 
" Of course, you can say so ! " he cried. " You know that you can 
say what you like with impunity. One can't chastise a cripple like 
you." 

The brilliant, painful colour flushed into the face of Henry Ashley. 
To allude openly to infirmity, such as this, is as iron entering into 
the soul. Upon a sensitive, timid, refined nature (and those suffer- 
ing from this sort of affliction are nearly sure to possess that nature), 
it falls with a bitterness that can neither be conceived by others nor 
spoken of by themselves. Henry Ashley braved it out. 

" A coward, and a double coward ! " he repeated, looking Cyril 
Dare full in the face, while the transparent flush grew hotter on his 
own. " You struck a young boy down, and then kicked him ; and 
for nothing but that he stood up, like a trump, at your abuse of his 
brother." 

" You couldn't hear," returned Cyril Dare roughly. 
" I heard enough. I say that you are a coward." 
" Chut ! They are snobs, out-and-out." 

" I don't care if they are chimney-sweeps. It does not make you 
less a coward. And you'll be one as long as you live. If I had my 
strength, I'd serve you out as you served them out." 

" Ah, but you have not your strength, you know ! " mocked Cyril. 
" And as you seem to be going into one of your heroic fits, I shall 
make a start, for I have no time to waste on them." 

He tore away. Henry Ashley turned his pony and addressed 
William. Both boys had spoken rapidly, so that scarcely a minute 
had passed, and William had only just risen from the ground. He 
leaned against the wall, giddy, as he wiped the blood from his face. 
" Are you much hurt ? " asked Henry kindly, his large dark eyes 
full of sympathy. 

" No, thank you ; it is nothing," replied William. " He is a great 
coward, though, whoever he is." 
" It is Cyril Dare," called out Frank. 

"Yes, it is Cyril Dare," continued Henry Ashley. I have been 
telling him what a coward he is. I am ashamed of him : he is my 
cousin, in a remote degree. I am glad you are not hurt." 

Henry Ashley rode away towards his home. Frank followed in 
the same direction ; as did Gar, who now came in view. William 
proceeded up the town. He was a little hurt, although he had dis- 
owned it to Henry Ashley. His head felt light, his arms ached; 
perhaps the sensation of giddiness was as much from the want of a 
piece of bread as anything. He purchased what was required for 
his mother ; and then made the best of his way home again. Mr. 
Ashley's letter had gone clean out of his head. 



142 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Frank, in the manner usual with boys, carried home so exaggerated 
a story of William's damages, that Jane expected to see him arrive 
half-killed. Samuel Lynn heard of it, and said William might stop 
at home that evening. It has never been mentioned that his hours 
were from six till eight in the morning, from nine till one, from two 
till five, and from six till eight. These were Mr. Lynn's hours, and 
William was allowed to keep the same ; the men had half-an-hour 
less allowed for breakfast and tea. 

William was glad of the rest, after his battle, and the evening 
passed on. It was growing late, almost bedtime, when suddenly 
there flashed into his memory Mr. Ashley's letter. He put his hand 
into his jacket-pocket. There it lay, snug and safe. With a few 
words of explanation to his mother, so hasty and incoherent that 
she did not understand a syllable, he snatched his cap, and flew 
away in the direction of the town. 

Boys have good legs and lungs ; and William scarcely slackened 
speed until he gained the post-office, not far short of a mile. Drop- 
ping the letter into the box, he stood against the wall to recover 
breath. A clerk was standing at the door whistling ; and at that 
moment a gentleman, apparently a stranger, came out of a neigh- 
bouring hotel, a letter in hand. 

" This is the head post-office, I believe ? " said he to the clerk. 

"Yes." 

" Am I in time to post a letter for Bristol ? " 

" No, sir. The bags for the Bristol mail are made up. It will be 
through the town directly." 

William heard this with consternation. If it was too late for this 
gentleman's letter, it was too late for Mr. Ashley's. 

He said nothing to any one that night ; but he lay awake thinking 
over what might be the consequences of his forgetfulness. The 
letter might be one of importance ; Mr. Ashley might discharge him 
for his neglect — and the weekly four shillings had grown into an 
absolute necessity. William possessed a large share of conscientious- 
ness, and the fault disturbed him much. 

When he came down at six, he found his mother up, and at work. 
He gave her the history of what had happened. " What can be 
done ? " he asked. 

6 Nay, William, put that question to yourself. What ought you to 
do ? Reflect a moment." 

" I suppose I ought to tell Mr. Ashley." 

"Do not say ' I suppose,' my dear. You must tell him." 

" Yes, I know I must," he acknowledged. " I have been thinking 
about it all night. But I don't like to." 

" Ah, child ! we have many things to do that we ' don't like.' But 
the first trouble is always the worst. Look it fully in the face, and 
it will melt away. There is no help for it in this matter, William ; 
your duty is plain. There's Mr. Lynn looking out for you." 

William went out, heavy with the thought of the task he should 
have to accomplish after breakfast. He knew that he must do it 



THE FORGOTTEN LETTER. 



143 



It was a duty, as his mother had said ; and she had fully impressed 
upon them all, from their infancy, the necessity of looking out for 
their duty and doing it, whether in great things or in small. 

Mr. Ashley entered the manufactory that morning at his usual 
hour, half-past nine. He opened and read his letters, and then was 
engaged for some time with Samuel Lynn. By ten o'clock the 
counting-house was clear. Mr. Ashley was alone in it, and William 
knew that his time was come. He went in, and approached Mr. 
Ashley's desk. 

Mr. Ashley, who was writing, looked up. " What is it ? " 

William's face grew red and white by turns. He was of a remark- 
ably sensitive nature; and these sensitive natures cannot help 
betraying their inward emotion. Try as he would, he could not get 
a word out. Mr. Ashley was surprised. " What is the matter ? " 
he wonderingly asked. 

"If you please, sir — I am very sorry — it is about the letter," he 
stammered, and was unable to get any further. 

" The letter ! " repeated Mr. Ashley. " What letter ? Not the 
letter I gave you to post ? " 

" " I forgot it, sir," — and William's own voice sounded to his ear 
painfully clear. 

" Forgot to post it ! That was unpardonably careless. Where is 
the letter ? " 

" I forgot it, sir, until night, and then I ran to the post-office and 
put it in. Afterwards I heard the clerk say that the Bristol bags 
were made up, so of course it would not go. I am very sorry, sir," 
he repeated, after a pause. 

"How came you to forget it? You ought to have gone direct 
from here, and posted it." 

" So I did go, sir. That is I was going, but " 

" But what ? " returned Mr. Ashley, for William had made a dead 
standstill. 

" The college boys set on me, sir. They were ill-using my brother, 
and I interfered ; and then they turned upon me. It made me for- 
get the letter." 

" It was you who got into an affray with the college boys, was 
it ? " cried Mr. Ashley. He had heard his son's version of the affair, 
without suspecting that it related to William. 

William waited by the desk. "If you please, sir, was it of great 
consequence ? " 

" It might have been. Do not be guilty of such carelessness 
again." 

" I will try not, sir." 

Mr. Ashley looked down at his writing. William waited. He 
did not suppose it was over, and he wanted to know the worst. 
" Why do you stay ? " asked Mr. Ashley. 

" I hope you will not turn me away for it, sir," he said, his colour 
changing again. 

"Well— not this time," replied Mr. Ashley, smiling to himself. 



144 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"But I'll tell you what I should have felt inclined to turn yoil 
away for," he added — "concealing the fact from me. Whatever 
fault, omission, or accident you may commit, always acknowledge 
it at once ; it is the best plan, and the easiest. You may go back 
to your work now." 

William left the room with a lighter step. Mr. Ashley looked 
after him. " That's an honest lad," thought he. " He might just 
as well have kept it from me ; calculating on the chances of it not 
coming out : many boys would have done so. He has been brought 
up in a good school." 

Before the day was over, William came again into contact with 
Mr. Ashley. That gentleman sometimes made his appearance in 
the manufactory in an evening — not always. He did not on this 
one. When Samuel Lynn and William entered it on their return 
from tea, a gentleman was waiting in the counting-house on busi- 
ness. Samuel Lynn, who was, on such occasions, Mr. Ashley's 
alter ego, came out of the counting-house presently, with a note in 
his hand. 

" Thee put on thy cap, and take this to the master's house. Ask 
to see him, and say that I wait for an answer." 

William ran off with the note : no fear of his forgetting this time. 
It was addressed in the plain form used by the Quakers, " Thomas 
Ashley;" and could William have looked inside, he would have 
seen, instead of the complimentary " Sir," that the commencement 
was, " Respected Friend." He observed his mother sitting close at 
her window, to catch what remained of the declining light, and 
nodded to her as he passed. 

" Can I see Mr. Ashley ? " he inquired, when he reached the 
house. 

The servant replied that he could. He left William in the hall, 
and opened the door of the dining-room ; a handsome room, of 
lofty proportions. Mr. Ashley was slowly pacing it to and fro, 
while Henry sat at a table, preparing his Latin exercise for his 
tutor. It was Mr. Ashley's custom to help Henry with his Latin, 
easing difficulties to him by explanation. Henry was very back- 
ward with his classics; he had not yet begun Greek: his own 
private hope was, that he never should begin it. His sufferings 
rendered learning always irksome, sometimes unbearable. The 
same cause frequently made him irritable — an irritation that could 
not be checked, as it would have been in a more healthy boy. The 
man told his master he was wanted, and Mr. Ashley looked into 
the hall. 

" Oh, is it you, William ? " he said. " Come in." 

William advanced. " Mr. Lynn said I was to see yourself, sir, 
and to say that he waited for an answer." 

Mr. Ashley opened the note, and read it by the lamp on Henry's 
table. It was not dark outside, and the chandelier was not lighted, 
but Henry's lamp was. " Sit down," said Mr. Ashley to William, 
and left the room, note in hand. 



THE FORGOTTEN LETTER. 



William felt it was something, Mr. Ashley's recognizing a differ- 
ence between him and those black boys in the manufactory : they 
would scarcely have been told to sit in the hall. William sat down 
on the first chair at hand. Henry Ashley looked at him. He 
recognized him as the boy who had been maltreated by the college 
boys on the previous day ; but Henry was in no mood to be sociable, 
or even condescending — he never was, when over his lessons. 
His hip was giving him pain, and his exercise was making him 
fractious. 

"There! it's always the case! Another five minutes, and I 
should have finished this horrid exercise. Papa is sure to go away, 
or be called away, when he's helping me ! It's a shame." 

Mrs. Ashley opened the door at this juncture, and looked into 
the room. " I thought your papa was here, Henry." 

" No, he is not here. He has gone to his study, and I am stuck 
fast. Some blessed note has come, which he has to attend to ; and 
I don't know whether this word should be put in the ablative or the 
dative ! I'lLrun the pen through it ! " 

" Oh, Henry, Henry ! Do not be so impatient." 

Mrs. Ashley shut the door again ; and Henry continued to worry 
himself, making no progress, except in fretfulness. At length 
William approached him. " Will you let me help you ? " 

Surprise brought Henry's grumbling to a standstill. " You ! " he 
exclaimed. "Do you know anything of Latin ? " 

" I am very much farther in it than what you are doing. My 
brother Gar is as far as that. Shall I help you ? You have put that 
wrong ; it ought to be in the accusative." 

" Well, if you can help me, you may, for I want to get it over," 
said Henry, with a doubting stress upon the " can." " You can sit 
down, if you wish to," he patronizingly added. 

" Thank you, I don't care about sitting down," replied William, 
beginning at once upon his task. 

The two boys were soon deep in the exercise, William not doing 
it, but rendering it easy to Henry ; in the same manner that Mr. 
Halliburton, when he was at that stage, used to make it clear 
to him. 

" I say," cried Henry, "who taught you ?" 

" Papa. He gave a great deal of time to me, and that got me on. 
I can see a wrong word there," added William, casting his eyes to 
the top of the page. "It ought to be in the vocative, and you have 
put it in the dative." 

" You are mistaken, then. Papa told me that : and he is not 
likely to be wrong. Papa is one of the best classical scholars of the 
day — although he is a manufacturer," added Henry, who, through 
his relatives, the Dares, had been infected with a contempt for 
business. 

"It should be in the vocative," repeated William. 
"I shan't alter it. The idea of your finding fault with Mr. 
Ashley's Latin ! Let us get on. What case is this ? " 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 10 



146 MRS, HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



The last word of the exercise was being written, when Mr. Ashley 
opened the door and called to William. He gave him a note for 
Mr. Lynn, and William departed. Mr. Ashley returned to complete 
the interrupted exercise. 

" I say, papa, that fellow knows Latin," began Henry. 

" What fellow ? " returned Mr. Ashley. 

" Why, that chap of yours, who has been here. He has helped 
me through my exercise. Not doing it for me : you need not be 
afraid; but explaining to me how to do it. He made it easier to. 
me than you do, papa." 

Mr. Ashley took the book in his hand, and saw that it was correct. 
He knew Henry could not, or would not, have made it so himself. 
Henry continued: 

"He said his papa used to explain it to him. Fancy one of your 
manufactory's errand-boys saying ' papa.' " 

" You must not class him with the ordinary errand-boys, Henry. 
The boy has been as well brought up as you have." 

"I thought so; for he has impudence about him," was Master 
Henry's retort. 

" Was he impudent to you ? " 

" To me ? oh no. He is as civil a fellow as ever I spoke to. 
Indeed, but for remembering who he was, I should call him a 
gentlemanly fellow. While he was telling me, I forgot who he was, 
and talked to him as an equal, and he talked to me as one. I call 
him impudent, because he found fault with your Latin." 

" Indeed I " returned Mr. Ashley, an amused smile parting his 
lips. 

"He says this word's wrong. That it ought to be in the vocative 
case." 

" So it ought to be," assented Mr. Ashley, casting his eyes on the 
word to which Henry pointed. 
" You told me the dative, papa." 

" That I certainly did not, Henry. The mistake must have been 
your own." 

" He persisted that it was wrong, although I told him it was your 
Latin. Papa, it is the same boy who had the row yesterday with 
Cyril Dare. What a pity it is, though, that a fellow so well up in 
his Latin should be shut up in a manufactory ! " 

" The only 1 pity ' is, that he is in it too early," was the response 
of Mr. Ashley. " His Latin would not be any detriment to his 
being in a manufactory, or the manufactory to his Latin. I am 
a manufacturer myself, Henry. You appear to ignore that some- 
times." 

" The Dares go on so. They din it into my ears that a manu- 
facturer cannot be a gentleman." 

" I shall cause you to drop the acquaintance of the Dares, if you 
allow yourself to listen to all the false and foolish notions they may 
give utterance to. Cyril Dare will probably go into a manufactory 
himself." 



THE FORGOTTEN LETTER. 



147 



Henry looked up curiously. " I don't think so, papa." 

" I do," returned Mr. Ashley, in a significant tone. Henry was 
surprised at the news. He knew his father never advanced a 
decided opinion unless he had good grounds for it. He burst into 
a laugh. The notion of Cyril Dare's going into a manufactory 
tickled his fancy amazingly. 



PART THE SECOND. 



CHAPTER I. 

A SUGGESTED FEAR. 

One morning, towards the middle of April, Mrs. Halliburton went 
up to Mr. Ashley's. She had brought him the quarter's rent. 

" Will you allow me to pay it to yourself, sir — now, and in future ? 
she asked. " I feel an unconquerable aversion to have further 
dealings with Mr. Dare." 

" I can understand that you should have," said Mr. Ashley. 
"Yes, you can pay it to me, Mrs. Halliburton. Always remember- 
ing, you know, that I am in no hurry for it," he added with a smile. 

" Thank you. You are very kind. But I must pay as I go on." 

He wrote the receipt, and handed it to her. " I hope you are 
satisfied with William ? " she said, as she folded it up. 

" Quite so. I believe he gives satisfaction to Mr. Lynn. I have 
little to do with him myself. Mr. Lynn tells me that he finds him 
a remarkably truthful, open-natured boy." 

" You will always find him that," said Jane. " He is getting more 
reconciled to the manufactory than he was at first." 

" Did he not like it at first ? " 

"No, he did not. He was disappointed altogether. He had 
hoped to find some employment more suited to the way in which he 
had been brought up. He cannot divest himself of the idea that he 
is looked upon as on a level with the poor errand-boys of your estab- 
lishment, and therefore has lost caste. He had wished also to be 
in some office — a lawyer's, for instance — where the hours for leaving 
are early, so that he might have had the evening for his studies. 
But he is growing more reconciled to the inevitable." 

" I suppose he wished to continue his studies ? " 

" He did so, naturally. The foundation of an advanced education 
has been laid, and he expected it was to go on to completion. His 
brothers are now in the college school, occupied all day long with 
their studies, and of course William feels the difference. He gets 
to his books for an hour when he returns home in an evening ; but 
he is weary, and does not do much good." 

" He appears to be a more persevering, thoughtful boy than are 
6ome," remarked Mr. Ashley. 

" Very thoughtful — very persevering. It has been the labour of 



A SUGGESTED FEAR. 



149 



my life, Mr. Ashley, to foster good seed in my children ; to reason 
with them, to make them my companions. They have been 
endowed, I am thankful to say, with admirable qualities of head 
and heart, and I have striven unweariedly to nourish the good in 
them. It is not often that boys are brought into contact with 
sorrow so early as they. Their papa's death and my adverse 
circumstances have been real trials." 

" They must have been," rejoined Mr. Ashley. 

" While others of their age think only of play," she continued, 
" my boys have been obliged to learn the sad experiences of life ; 
and it has given them a thought, a care, beyond their years. There 
is no necessity to make Frank and Edgar apply to their lessons un- 
remittingly ; they do it of their own accord, with their whole abilities, 
knowing that education is the only advantage they can possess — 
the one chance of their getting on in the world. Had William 
been a boy of a different disposition, less tractable, less reflective, 
less conscientious, I might have found some difficulty in inducing 
him to work as he is doing." 

" Does he complain ? " inquired Mr. Ashley. 

"Oh no, sir! He feels that it is his duty to work, to assist so 
far as he can, and he does it without complaining. I see that he 
cannot help feeling it. He would like to be in the college with his 
brothers ; but I cheer him up, and tell him it may all turn out for 
the best. Perhaps it will." 

She rose as she spoke. Mr. Ashley shook hands with her, and 
attended her through the hall. " Your sons deserve to get on, Mrs. 
Halliburton, and I hope they will do so. It is an admirable promise 
for the future man when a boy displays self-thought and self- 
reliance." 

" Mamma ! " suddenly exclaimed Janey, as they sat at breakfast 
the morning after this, " do you remember what to-day is ? It is 
my birthday." 

Jane had remembered it. She had been almost in hopes that 
the child would not remember it. One year ago that day the first 
glimpse of the shadow, so soon to fall upon them, had shown itself. 
What a change ! The contrast between last year and this was 
almost incredible. Then they had been in possession of a good 
home, were living in prosperity, in apparent security. Now — Jane's 
heart turned sick at the thought. Only one short year ! J 

" Yes, Janey dear," she replied in a sadly subdued tone. " I did 
not forget it. I " 

A double knock at the door interrupted what she would have 
further said. They heard Dobbs answer it : visitors were chiefly 
for Mrs. Reece. 

Who should be standing there but Samuel Lynn ! He did not 
choose the familiar back way, as Patience did, had he occasion to 
call, but knocked at the front. 

" Is Jane Halliburton within?" 

" You can go and see," said crusty, disappointed Dobbs, flourish- 



ISO 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



ing her hand towards the study door. " It's not often that she's 
out." 

Jane rose at his entrance ; but he declined to sit, standing while 
he delivered the message with which he had been charged. 

" Friend, thee need not send thy son to the manufactory again in 
an evening, except on Saturdays. On the other evenings he may 
remain at home from tea-time and pursue his studies. His wages 
will not be lessened." 

And Jane knew that the considerate kindness emanated from 
Thomas Ashley. 

She managed better with her work as the months went on. By 
summer she could do it quickly ; the days were long then, and, by 
dint of sitting closely to it, she could earn twelve shillings a week. 
With William's earnings, and the six shillings taken from Mrs. 
Reece's payments, that made twenty-two. It was quite a fortune, 
compared with what had been. But, like most good fortunes, it 
had its drawbacks. In the first place, she could not always earn it ; 
she was compelled to steal unwilling time to mend her own and the 
children's clothes. In the second place, a large portion of it had 
to be devoted to buying their clothes, besides other incidental 
expenses ; so that in the matter of housekeeping they were not much 
better off than before. Still, Jane did begin to think that she should 
see her way clearer. But there was sorrow of a different nature 
looming in the distance. 

One afternoon, which Jane was obliged to devote to plain sewing, 
she was sitting alone in the study, when there came a hard short 
thump at it, which was Dobbs's way of making known her presence 
there. 

" Come in ! " 

Dobbs came in and sat herself down opposite Jane. It was 
summer weather, and the August dust blew in at the open window. 
" I want to know what's the matter with Janey," began she, without 
circumlocution. 

"With Janey?" repeated Mrs. Halliburton. "What should be 
the matter with her? I know of nothing." 

" Of course not," sarcastically answered Dobbs. " Eyes appear 
to be given to some folks only to blind 'em — more's the pity! 
You can't see it ; my missis can't see it ; but I say that the child 
is ill." 

" Oh, Dobbs ! I think you must be mistaken." 

" Now, I'd thank you to be civil, if you please, Mrs. Halliburton," 
retorted Dobbs. "You don't take me for a common servant, I 
hope. Who's < Dobbs?'" 

" I had no wish to be uncivil," said Jane. " I am so much 
accustomed to hear Mrs. Reece call you Dobbs, that " 

" My missis is one case, and other folks is another," burst forth 
Dobbs, by way of interruption. " I have a handle to my name, 
I hope, which is Mrs. Dobbs, and I'd be obleeged to you not to 
forget it again. What's the reason that Janey's always tired now, 



A SUGGESTED FEAR. 



I ask? — don't want to stir — gets a bright pink in the cheeks and 
inside the hands ? " 

" It is only the effect of the hot weather." 

The opinion did not please Dobbs. " There's not a earthly thing 
happens, but it's laid to the weather," she angrily cried. " The 
weather, indeed ! If Janey is not going off after her pa, it's an odd 
thing to me." 

Jane's heart-pulse stood still. 

" Does she have night-prespirations, or does she not?" demanded 
Dobbs. " She tells me she's hot and damp ; so I conclude it 
is so." 

" Only from the heat — only from the heat," panted Jane eagerly. 
She dared not admit the fear. 

" Well, the first time I go down to the town, I shall take her to 
Parry. It won't be at your cost," she hastened to add in an un- 
gracious tone, for Jane was about to interrupt. " If she wants to 
know what she is took to the doctor's for, I shall tell her it is to 
have her teeth looked at. She has a nasty cough upon her : per- 
haps you haven't noticed that ! Some can't see a child decaying 
under, their very nose, while strangers can see it palpable." 

" She has coughed since last week, the day of the rain, when she 
went with Anna Lynn into the field at the back, and they got their 
feet wet. Oh, I am sure there is nothing seriously the matter with 
her," added Jane, resolutely endeavouring to put the suggested fear 
from her. " I want her in : she must help me with my sewing." 

"Then she's not a-going to help," resolutely returned Dobbs. 
u She has had a good dinner of roast lamb and sparrow-grass and 
kidney potatoes, and she's sitting back in my easy chair, opposite 
to my missis in hers. Her wanting always to rest might have told 
some folks that she was ailing. When children are in health, their 
legs and wings and tongue are on the go from morning till night. 
You never need pervide 'em with a seat, but for their meals ; and, 
give 'em their way, they'd eat them standing. Jane's always want- 
ing to rest now, and she shall rest." 

" But, indeed she must help me to-day," urged Jane. " She can 
sew straight seams, and hem. Look at this heap of mending ! and 
it must be finished to-night. I cannot afford to be about it to- 
morrow." 

"What sewing is it you want done?" questioned Dobbs, lifting 
up the work with a jerk. " I'll do it myself, sooner than the child 
shall be bothered." 

" Oh no, thank you. I should not like to trouble you with it." 

" Now, I make the offer to do the work," crossly responded 
Dobbs; "and if I didn't mean to do it, I shouldn't make it. 
You'd do well to give it me, if you want it done. Janey shan't work 
this afternoon." 

Taking her at her word, and indeed glad to do so, Jane showed 
Dobbs a task, and Dobbs swung off with it. Jane called after her 
that she had not taken a needle and cotton. Dobbs retorted that 



152 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



she had needles and cotton of her own, she hoped, and needn't be 
beholden to anybody else for 'em. 

Jane sat on, anxious, all the afternoon. Janey remained in Mrs. 
Reece's parlour, and revelled in an early tea and pikelets. Jane 
was disturbed from her thoughts by the boisterous entrance of 
Frank and Gar; more boisterous than usual. Frank was a most 
excitable boy, and he had been told that evening by the head 
master of the college school, the Reverend Mr. Keating, that he 
might be one of the candidates for the vacant place in the choir. 
This was enough to set Frank off for a week. " You know what a 
nice voice you say I have, mamma ; what a good ear for music ! " 
he reiterated. " As good as, you tell us, Aunt Margaret's used to 
be. I shall be sure to gain the place, if you will let me try. We 
have to be at college for an hour morning and afternoon daily, but 
we can easily get that up if we are industrious. Some of the best 
Helstonleigh scholars, who have shone at Oxford and Cambridge, 
were choristers. And I should have about ten pounds a-year paid 
to me." 

Ten pounds a-year! Jane listened with a beating heart. It 
would more than keep him in clothes. She inquired more fully into 
particulars. 

The result was that Frank had permission to try for the vacant 
choristership, and gained it. His voice was the best of those tried. 
He went home in Ja glow. " Now, mamma, the sooner you set 
about a new surplice for me the better." 

" A new surplice, Frank ! " Ah, it was not all profit. 

" A chorister must have two surplices, mamma. King's scholars 
can do with one, having them washed between the Sundays : 
choristers can't. We must have them always in wear, you know, 
except in Lent, and on the day of King Charles the Martyr." 

Jane smiled ; he talked so fast. " What is that you are running 
on about ? " 

" Goodness, mamma, don't you understand ? All the six weeks 
of Lent, and on the 30th of January, the cathedral is hung with 
black, and the choristers have to wear black cloth surplices. They 
don't find the black ones : the college does that." 

Frank's success in gaining the place did not give universal 
pleasure to the college school. Since the day of the disturbance in 
the spring, in which William was mixed up, the two young Halli- 
burtons had been at a discount with the desk at which Cyril Dare 
sat ; and this desk pretty well ruled the school. 

" It's coming to a fine pass ! " exclaimed Cyril Dare, when the 
result of the trial was carried into the school. " Here's the town 
clerk's own son passed over as nobody, and that snob of a Halli- 
burton put in ! Somebody ought to have told the dean what snobs 
they are." 

"What would the dean have cared?" grumbled another, whose 
young brother had been among the rejected ones. " To get good 
voices in the choir is all he cares for in the matter." 



SHADOWS IN HONEY FAIR. 



153 



" I say, where do they live — that set?" 

" In a house of Ashley's, in the London Road," answered Cyril 
Dare. " They couldn't pay the rent, and my father put a bum in." 
"Bosh, Dare!" 

"It's true," said Cyril Dare. "My father manages Ashley's 
rents, you know. They'd have had every stick and stone sold, only 
Ashley — he is a regular soft over some things — took and gave them 
time. Oh, they are a horrid lot ! They don't keep a servant ! " 

The blank astonishment that this last item of intelligence caused 
at the desk, can't be described. Again Cyril's word was disputed. 

" They don't, I tell you," he repeated. " I taxed Halliburton 
senior with it one day, and he told me to my face that they could 
not afford one. He possesses brass enough to set up a foundry, 
does that fellow. The eldest one is at Ashley's manufactory, 
errand-boy. Errand-boy! And here's this one promoted to the 
choir, over gentlemen's heads ! He ought to be pitched into, ought 
Halliburton senior." 

In the school, prank was Halliburton senior ; Gar, Halliburton 
junior. " How is it that he says he was at King's College before he 
came here? I heard him tell Keating so," asked a boy. 

At this moment Mr. Keating's voice was heard. " Silence ! " 
Cyril Dare let a minute elapse, and then began again. 

" Such a low thing, you know, not to keep servants ! We 
couldn't do at all without five or six. I'll tell you what : the school 
may do as it likes, but our desk shall cut the two fellows here." 

And the desk did so ; and Frank and Gar had to put up with 
many mortifications. There was no help for it. Frank was brave 
as a young lion ; but against some sorts of oppression there is no 
standing up. More than once was the boy in tears, telling his griefs 
to his mother. It fell more on Frank than it did on Gar. 

Jane could only strive to console him, as she did William. 
" Patience and forbearance, my darling Frank ! You will outlive it 
in time." 



CHAPTER II. 

SHADOWS IN HONEY FAIR. 

AUGUST was hot in Honey Fair. The women sat at their open 
doors, or even outside them ; the children tumbled in the gutters ; 
the refuse in the road was none the better for the month's heat. 

Charlotte East sat in her kitchen one Tuesday afternoon, busy as 
usual. Her door was shut, but her window was open. Suddenly 
the latch was lifted, and Mrs. Cross came in : not with the bold, 
boisterous movements that were common to Honey Fair, but with 
creeping steps that seemed afraid of their own echoes, and a scared 
face. 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Mrs. Cross was in trouble. Her two daughters, Amelia and 
Mary Ann, to whom you have had the honour of an introduction, 
had purchased those lovely cross-barred sarcenets, green, pink, and 
lilac, and worn them at the party at the Alhambra : which party 
went off satisfactorily, leaving nothing behind it but some headaches 
for the next day, and a trifle of pecuniary embarrassment to Honey 
Fair in general. What with the finery for the party, and other 
finery, and what with articles really useful, but which perhaps 
might have been done without, Honey Fair was pretty deeply in 
with the Messrs. Bankes. In Mrs. Cross's family alone, herself 
and her daughters owed, conjointly, so much to these accommo- 
dating tradesmen, that it took eight shillings a week to keep them 
quiet. You can readily understand how this impoverished the 
weekly housekeeping; and the falsehoods that had to be con- 
cocted, by way of keeping the husband, Jacob Cross, in the dark, 
were something alarming. This was the state of things in many of 
the homes of Honey Fair. 

Mrs. Cross came in with timid steps and a scared face. " Char- 
lotte, lend me five shillings for the love of goodness ! " cried she, 
speaking as if afraid of the sound of her own voice. " I don't know 
another soul to ask but you. There ain't another that would have 
it to lend, barring Dame Buffle, and she never lends. " 

" You owe me twelve shillings already," answered Charlotte, 
pausing for a moment in her sewing. 

" I know that. I'll pay you off by degrees, if it's only a shilling a 
week. I am a'most drove mad. Bankes's folks was here yesterday, 
and me and the girls had only four shillings to give 'em. I'm 
getting in arrears frightful, and Bankes's is as cranky over it as can 
be. It's all smooth and fair so long as you're buying of Bankes's 
and paying 'em ; but just get behind, and see what short answers 
and sour looks you'll have ! " 

" But Amelia and Mary Ann took in their work on Saturday and 
had their money?" 

" My patience ! I don't know what us should do, if they hadn't ! 
We have to pay up everywhere. We're in debt at BufHe's, in 
debt to the baker, in debt for shoes ; we're in debt on all sides. 
And there's Cross spending three shilling, good, of his wages 
at the public-house ! It takes what me and the girls earn to pay 
a bit up, here and there, and stop things from coming to Cross's 
ears. Half the house is in the pawn-shop, and what'll become 
of us I don't know. I can't sleep o' nights, hardly, for thinking 
on't." 

Charlotte felt sure that, were it her case, she should not sleep 
at all. 

" The worst is, I have to keep the little 'uns away from school. 
Pay for 'em I can't. And a fine muck they get into, playing in the 
road all day. 'What does these children do to theirselves at 
school, to get into this dirty mess?' asks Cross, when he comes in. 
6 Oh, they plays a bit in the gutter, coming home,' says I. ' We 



SHADOWS IN HONEY FAIR. 



155 



plays a bit, father,' cries they, when they hears me, a- winking at 
each other to think how we does their father." 

Charlotte shook her head. " I should end it all." 

" End it ! I wish we could end it ! The girls is going to slave 
theirselves night and day this week and next. But it's not for my 
good : it's for their'n. They want to get their grand silks out o' 
pawn ! Nothing but outside finery goes down with them, though 
they've not an inside rag to their backs. They leave care to me. 
Fools to be sure, they was, to buy them silks ! They have been in 
the pawn-shop ever since, and Bankes's a-tearing 'em to pieces for 
the money ! " 

" I should end it by confessing to Jacob," said Charlotte, when 
she could get in a word. " He is not a bad husband " 

" And look at his passionate temper ! " broke in Mrs. Cross. " Let 
it get to his ears, ,that we have gone on tick to Bankes's and else- 
where, and he'd rave the house out of winders." 

" He would be angry at first, no doubt ; but when he cooled 
down, he would see the necessity of something being done, and help 
in it. If you all set on, and put your shoulders to the wheel, you 
might soon get clear. Live upon the very least that will satisfy 
hunger — the plainest food — dry bread and potatoes. No beer, no 
meat, no finery, no luxuries ; and with the rest of the week's money 
begin to pay up. You'd be clear in no time." 

Mrs. Cross stared in consternation. " You be a Job's com- 
forter, Charlotte ! Dry bread and taters ! who could put up with 
that?" 

" When poor people like us fall into trouble, it is the only way, 
that I know of, to get out of it. I'd rather mortify my appetite for 
a year, than have my rest broke by care." 

" Your advice is good enough for talking, Charlotte, but it 
don't answer for acting. Cross must have his bit o' meat and his 
beer, his butter and his cheese, his tea and his sugar — and so 
must the rest on us. But about this five shillings? — do lend it 
me, Charlotte ! It is for the landlord : we're almost in a fix with 
him." 

" For the landlord ! " repeated Charlotte involuntarily. " You 
must keep him paid, or it would be the worst of all." 

" I know we must. He was took bad yesterday — more's the 
blessing ! — and couldn't get round ; but he's here to-day as burly 
as beef. We haven't paid him for this three weeks," she added, 
dropping her voice to an ominous whisper ; " and I declare to you, 
Charlotte East, that the sight of him at our door is as good to me 
as a dose of physic. Just now, round he conies, a-lifting the latch, 
and me turning sick the minute I sees him. ' Ready, Mrs. Cross?' 
asks he, in his short, surly way, putting his brown wig up. ' I'm 
sorry I ain't, Mr. Abbott, sir,' says I ; 'but I'll have some next week 
for certain.' 6 That won't do for me,' says he : ' I must have it this. 
If you can't give me some money, I shall apply to your husband.' 
The fright this put me into I've not got over yet, Charlotte; for 



156 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Cross don't know but what the rent's paid up regular. ' I know 
what's going on,' old Abbott begins again, 1 and I have knowed it 
for some time. You women in this Honey Fair, you pay your 
money to them Bankes's, which is the blight o' the place, and then 
you can't pay me.' Only fancy his calling Bankes's a blight ! " 

" That's just what they are," remarked Charlotte. 

" For shame, Charlotte East ! When one's way is a bit eased by 
being able to get a few things on trust, you must put in your word 
again it ! Some of us would never get a new gown to our backs if 
it wasn't for Bankes's. Abbott's gone off to other houses, collect- 
ing; warning me as he'd call again in half an hour, and if some 
money wasn't ready for him then, he'd go straight off to Jacob, to 
his shop o' work. If you can let me have one week for him, 
Charlotte — five shillings — I'll be ever grateful." 

Charlotte rose, unlocked a drawer, and gave five shillings to Mrs. 
Cross, thinking in her own mind that the kindest course would be 
for the landlord to go to Cross, as he had threatened. 

Mrs. Cross took the money. Her mind so far relieved, she could 
indulge in a little gossip ; for Mr. Abbott's half-hour had not yet 
expired. 

" I say, Charlotte, what d'ye think? I'm afraid Ben Tyrrett and 
our Mary Ann is a-going to take up together." 

" Indeed ! " exclaimed Charlotte. " That's new." 

" Not over-new. They have been talking together on and off, 
but I never thought it was serious till last Sunday. I have set 
my face dead against it. He has a nasty temper of his own ; 
and he's nothing but a jobber at fifteen shillings a week, and his 
profits of the egg-whites. Our Mary Ann might do better than 
that." 

" I think she might," assented Charlotte. " And she is over- 
young to think of marrying." 

" Young ! " wrathfully repeated Mrs. Cross. " I should think she 
is young ! Girls are as soft as apes. The minute a chap says a 
word to 'em about marrying, they're all agog to do it, whether it's 
fit, or whether it's unfit. Our Mary Ann might look inches over 
Ben Tyrrett's head, if she had any sense in her. Hark ye, Char- 
lotte! When you see her, just put in a word against it; maybe 
it'll turn her. Tell her you'd not have Tyrrett at a gift." 

" And that's true," replied Charlotte, with a laugh, as her guest 
departed. 

A few minutes, and Charlotte received another visitor. This was 
the wife of Mark Mason — a tall, bony woman, with rough black 
hair and a loud voice. That voice and Mark did not get on very 
well together. She put her hands back upon her hips, and used it 
now, standing before Charlotte in a threatening attitude. 

" What do you do, keeping our Carry out at night? " 

Charlotte looked up in surprise. She was thinking of something 
else, or her answer might have been more cautious, for she was one 
of those who never willingly make mischief. 



SHADOWS IN HONEY FAIR, 



" I do not keep Caroline out. She is here of an evening now and 
then — not often." 

Mrs. Mason laughed — a low derisive laugh of mockery. " I 
knew it was a falsehood when she told it me! There she goes 
out, night after night, night after night ; so I set Mark on to her, 
for I couldn't keep her in, neither find out where she went to. 
Mark was in a passion — something had put him out, and Carry 
was frightened, for he had hold of her arm savage-like. ' 1 am at 
Charlotte East's of a night, Mark/ she said. ' I shall take no harm 
there.' " 

Charlotte did not lift her eyes from her work. Mrs, Mason stood 
defiantly. 

" Now, then ! where is it she gets to? 

"Why do you apply to me?" returned Charlotte. "I am not 
Caroline Mason's keeper." 

" If you bain't her keeper, you be her adviser," retorted Mrs. 
Mason. " And that's worse." 

" When I advise Caroline at all, I advise her for her good." 

" My eyes are opened now, if they was blind before," continued 
Mrs. Mason, apostrophizing in no gentle terms the offending Caro- 
line. "Who gave Carry that there shawl? — who gave her that 
there fine gownd ? — who gave her that gold brooch, with a stone in 
it 'twixt red and yaller, and a naked Cupid in white a flying on it? 

* A nice brooch you've got there, miss,' says I to her. ' Yes,' says 
she, ' they call 'em cameons.' 'And where did you get it, pray?' 
says I. ' And that's my business,' answers she. Next there was a 
neck-scarf, green and lavender, with yaller fringe at its ends, as 
deep as my forefinger. ' You're running up a tidy score at Bankes's, 
my .lady,' says I. 4 1 shan't come to you to pay for it,' says she. 
' No,' thinks I to myself, ' but you be a living in our house, and you 
may bring Mark into trouble over it,' for he's a soft-hearted gander 
at times. So down I goes to Bankes's place last night. ' Just turn 
to the debt-book, young man,' says I to the gentleman behind the 
counter — it were the one with the dark hair — 'and tell me how 
much is owed by Caroline Mason.' 1 Come to settle it ? ' asks he. 
' Maybe, and maybe not,' says I. 'I want's my question answered, 
whether or no.' Are you listening, Charlotte East?" 

Charlotte lifted her eyes from her work. " Yes." 
" He lays hold of a big book," continues Mrs. Mason, who was 
talking her face crimson, " and draws his finger down its pages. 

* Caroline Mason — Caroline Mason,' says he, ' I don't think we have 
anything against her. No : it's crossed off. There was a trifle 
against her, but she paid it last week.' Well, I stood staring 
at the man, thinking he was deceiving me, saying she had paid. 

* When did she pay for that shawl she had in the winter, and how 
much did it cost?' asks I. 'Shawl?' says he. 'Caroline Mason 
hasn't had no shawl of us.' 1 Nor a gownd at Easter — a fancy sort 
of thing, with stripes? ' I goes on : ' nor a cameon brooch last week ? 
nor a scarf with yaller fringe?' 'Nothing o' the sort/ says he, 



158 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



decisive. c Caroline Mason hasn't bought any of those things from 
us. She had some bonnet ribbun, and that she paid for.' Now, 
what was I to think?" concluded Mrs. Mason. 
Charlotte did not know. 

" I comes home a-pondering, and at the corner of the lane I 
catches sight of a certain gentleman loitering about in the shade. 
The truth flashed into my mind. 'He's after our Caroline,' I says to 
myself ; 4 and it's him that has given her the things, and we shall 
just have her a world's spectacle ! ' I accused Eliza Tyrrett of 
being the confidant. 6 It isn't me,' says she ; 6 it's Charlotte East.' 
So I bottled up my temper till now, and now I've come to learn the 
rights on't." 

" I cannot tell you the rights," replied Charlotte. " I do not 
know them. I have striven to give Caroline some good advice 
lately, and that is all I have had to do with it. Mrs. Mason, you 
know that I should never advise Caroline, or any one else, but for 
her good." 

Mrs. Mason would have acknowledged this in a cooler moment. 
"Why did that Tyrrett girl laugh at me, then? and why did Carry 
say she spent her evenings here ? " cried she. " The gentleman I 
see was young Anthony Dare : and Carry had better bury herself 
alive, than be drawn aside by his nonsense." 

" Much better," acquiesced Charlotte. " Where is Caroline? " 

" Under lock and key," said Mr. Mason. 

" Under lock and key ! " echoed Charlotte. 

" Yes ; under lock and key ; and there she shall stop. She was 
out all this blessed morning with Eliza Tyrrett, and never walked 
herself in till after Mark had had his dinner and was gone. So then 
I began upon her. My temper was up, and I didn't spare her, I 
vowed I'd tell Mark what I had seen and heard, and what sort of a 
wolf she allowed to make her presents of fine clothes. With that 
she turned wild, and flung up to her room in the cock-loft, and 
I followed and locked her in." 

"You have done very wrong," said Charlotte. "It is not by 
harshness that any good will be done with Caroline. You know her 
disposition : a child might lead her by kindness, but she rises up 
against harshness. My opinion is, that she never would have given 
the least trouble at all, had you made her a better home." 

This bold avowal took away Mrs. Mason's breath. "A better 
home ! " cried she, when she could speak. " A better home ! Fed 
upon French rolls and lobster salad and apricot tarts, and give her 
a lady's maid to hook-and-eye her gownd for her ! My heart ! that 
beats all." 

" I don't speak of food, and that sort of thing," rejoined Charlotte. 
" If you had treated her with kind words, instead of cross ones, she 
would have been as good a girl as ever lived. Instead of that, you 
have made your home unbearable, and so driven her out, with her 
dangerous good looks, to be told of them by the first idler who came 
across her : and that seems to have been Anthony Dare. Go home,, 



THE DARES AT HOME. 



159 



and let her out of where you have locked her in ; do, Hetty Mason ! 
Let her out, and speak kindly to her, and treat her as a sister ; and 
you'll undo all the bad yet." 

" I shan't then ! " was the passionate reply. " I'll see you and 
her hung first, before I speak kind to her, to encourage her in her 
loose ways ! " 

Mrs. Mason flung out of the house as she concluded, giving the 
door a bang, which only had the effect of sending it open again. 
Charlotte sighed, as she rose to shut it : not only for any peril that 
Caroline Mason might be in, but for the general blindness, the dis- 
torted views of right and wrong, which seemed to obtain amidst the 
women of Honey Fair. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE DARES AT HOME. 

A PROFUSION of glass and plate glittered on the dining-table of 
Mr. Dare. It was six o'clock, and they had just sat down. Mrs. 
Dare, in a light gauze dress and blonde headdress, sat at the head 
of the table. There was a large family of them ; four sons and four 
daughters ; and all were present ; also Miss Benyon, the governess. 
Anthony and Herbert sat on either side Mrs. Dare; Adelaide and 
Julia, the eldest daughters, near their father ; the four other children, 
Cyril and George, Rosa and Minny, were between them. 

Mr. Dare was helping the salmon. In due course, a plate, fol- 
lowed by the sauce, was carried to Anthony. 

" What's this ! Melted butter ! Where's the lobster sauce? " 

" There is no lobster sauce to-day," said Mrs. Dare. " We sent 
late, and the lobsters were all gone. There was a small supply. 
Joseph, take the anchovy to Mr. Anthony." 

Mr. Anthony jerked the anchovy sauce off the salver, dashed 
some into the butter on his plate, and jerked the bottle back again. 
Not with a very good grace : his palate was a dainty one. Indeed, 
it was a family complaint. 

" I wouldn't give a fig for salmon unless there's lobster sauce with 
it," he cried. " I hope you'll not send late again." 

"It was the cook's fault," said Mrs. Dare. "She did not fully 
understand my orders." 

" Deaf old creature ! " exclaimed Anthony. 

"Anthony, here's some cucumber," said Julia, looking down the 
table at her brother. " Ann, take the cucumber to Mr. Anthony." 

" You know I never eat cucumber with salmon," grumbled Anthony, 
in reply. And it was not graciously spoken, for the offer had been 
dictated by good-nature. 

A pause ensued. They were busy over their plates. It was at 
length broken by Mrs. Dare. 



l6o MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Herbert, are you growing more reconciled to office-work?" 

"No; and never shall," returned Herbert. " From ten till five is 
an awful clog upon one's time ; it's as bad as school." 

Mr. Dare looked up from his plate. " You might have been put 
to a profession that would occupy a great deal more time than that, 
Herbert. What calls have you upon your time, pray, that it is so 
valuable ? Will you take some more fish ? " 

" Well, I don't know. I think I will. It is good to-day ; very 
good with the cucumber, that Anthony despises." 

Ann took his plate round to Mr. Dare. 

" Anthony," said that gentleman, as he filled it, " where were you 
this afternoon ? You were away from the office altogether, after two 
o'clock." 

"Out with Hawkesley," shortly replied Anthony. 

"Yes; it is all very well to say, * Out with Hawkesley,' but the 
office suffers. I wish you young men were not quite so fond of 
taking your pleasure." 

" More fish, sir?" asked Joseph of Anthony. 

" Not if I know it." 

The second course came in. A quarter of lamb, asparagus, and 
other vegetables. Herbert looked cross. He had recently taken a 
dislike to lamb, or fancied that he had. " Of course there's some- 
thing coming for me ! " he said. 

" Oh, of course," said Mrs. Dare. " Cook knows you don't like 
lamb." 

Nothing, however, came in. Ann was sent to inquire the cause 
of the neglect. The cook had been unable to procure veal cutlet, 
and Master Herbert had said if she ever sent him up a mutton-chop 
again, he should throw it at her head. Such was the message 
brought back. 

" What an old story-teller she must be, to say she could not get 
veal cutlet ! " exclaimed Herbert. " I hate mutton and lamb, and I 
am not going to eat either one or the other." 

" I heard the butcher say this morning that he had no veal, 
Master Herbert," interposed Ann. " This hot weather they don't 
kill much meat." 

" Why have you taken this dislike to lamb, Herbert ? " asked Mr. 
Dare. "You have eaten it all the season." 

" That's just it," answered Herbert. " I have eaten so much of it 
that I am sick of it." 

" Never mind, Herbert," said his mother. " There's a cherry tart 
coming and a delicious lemon pudding. I don't think you can be 
so very hungry ; you went twice to salmon." 

Herbert was not in a good humour. All the Dares had been 
culpably pampered, and of course it bore its fruits. He sat drum- 
ming with his silver fork upon the table, condescending to try a 
little asparagus, and a great deal of both pie and pudding. Cheese, 
salad, and dessert followed, of which Herbert partook of plenti- 
fully. Still he thought he was terribly used, in not having had 



THE DARES AT HOME. 161 

different meat specially provided for him ; and he could not recover 
his good humour. I tell you the Dares had been most culpably 
indulged. The house was one of luxury and profusion, and every 
little whim and fancy had been studied. It is one of the worst 
schools a child can be reared in. 

The three younger daughters and the governess withdrew, after 
taking each a glass of wine. Cyril and George went off like- 
wise, to their lessons or to play. It was their own affair, and Mr. 
Dare made it no concern of his. Presently Mrs. Dare and Adelaide 
rose. 

" Hawkesley's coming in this evening," called out Anthony, as 
they were going through the door. 

Adelaide turned. " What did you say, Anthony ? " 

" Lord Hawkesley's coming. At least he said so : that he would 
look in for an hour. But there's no dependence to be placed 
on him." 

" We must be in the large drawing-room, mamma, this evening," 
said Adelaide, as they crossed the hall. "Miss Benyon and the 
children can take tea in the school-room." 

" Yes," assented Mrs. Hare. " It is bad style to have one's 
drawing-room encumbered with children, and Lord Hawkesley 
understands all that. Let them be in the school-room." 

"Julia also?" 

Mrs. Dare shrugged her shoulders. " If you can persuade her 
into it. I don't think Julia will consent to take tea in the school- 
room. Why should she ? " 

Adelaide vouchsafed no reply. Dutiful children they were not — 
affectionate children they were not — they had not been reared to be 
so. Mrs. Dare was of the world, worldly : very much so : and that 
leaves very little time upon the hands for earnest duties. She had 
taken no pains to train her children : she had given them very little 
love. This conversation had taken place in the hall. Mrs. Dare 
went upstairs to the large drawing-room, a really handsome room. 
She rang the bell and gave sundry orders, the moving motive for 
all being the doubtful visit of Viscount Hawkesley — ices from the 
pastrycook's, a tray of refreshments, the best china, the best silver. 
Then Mrs. Dare reclined in her chair for her after-dinner nap — an 
indulgence she much favoured. 

Adelaide Dare entered the smaller drawing-room, an apartment 
more commonly used, and opening from the hall. Julia was reading 
a book just brought in from the library. Miss Benyon was softly 
playing, and the two little ones were quarrelling. Miss Benyon 
turned round from the piano when Adelaide entered. 

"You must make tea in the school-room this evening, Miss 
Benyon, for the children. Julia, you are to take yours there." 

Julia looked up from her book. " Who says so?" 

" Mamma. Lord Hawkesley's coming, and we cannot have the 
drawing-room crowded." 

" I am not going to keep out of the drawing-room for Lorcl 
Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. IX 



162 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Hawkesley," returned Julia, a quiet girl in appearance and manner. 
"Who is Lord Hawkesley, that he should disarrange the economy 
of the house ? There's so much ceremony and parade observed 
when he comes, that it upsets all comfort. Your lordship this, 
and your lordship that ; and papa my-lording him to the skies. 
I don't like it. He looks down upon us — I know he does — although 
he condescends to make a sort of friend of Anthony." 

Adelaide Dare's dark eyes flashed, and her cheeks crimsoned. 
She was a handsome girl. " Julia ! I do think you are an idiot ! " 

" Perhaps I am," composedly returned Julia, who was of a care- 
less, easy temper; "but I am not going to be kept out of the 
drawing-room for my Lord Hawkesley. Let me go on with my 
book in peace, Adelaide : it is a charming one." 

Meanwhile, Herbert Dare, seeing no prospect of more wine 
in store — for Mr. Dare, with wonderful prudence, told Herbert 
that two glasses of port were sufficient for him — left his seat, and 
bolted out at the dining-room window, which opened on to the 
ground. He ran into the hall for his hat, and then, speeding across 
the lawn, went into the high-road. Anthony remained alone with 
his father ; and Anthony was plucking up courage to speak upon 
a subject that was causing him some perplexity. He plunged into 
it at once. 

" Father, I am in a mess. I have managed to outrun the con- 
stable." 

Mr. Dare was at that moment holding his glass of wine between 
his eye and the light. The words quite scared him. He set his 
glass down, and looked at Anthony. 

" How's that? How have you managed that?" 

" I don't know how it has come about," was Anthony's answer. 
" It is so, sir; and you must be so good as to help me out of it." 

" Your allowance is sufficient — amply so. Do you forget that I 
set you clear of debt at the beginning of the year? What money 
do you want?" 

Anthony Dare began pulling the fringe out of the dessert napkin, 
to the great detriment of the damask. "Two hundred pounds, 
sir." 

" Two hundred pounds ! " echoed Mr. Dare, a dark expression 
clouding his handsome face. " Do you want to ruin me, Anthony? 
Look at my expenses ! look at the claims upon me ! I say that 
your allowance is a liberal one, and you ought to keep within it." 

Anthony sat biting his lip. " I would not have applied to you, 
sir, if I could have helped it ; but I am driven into a corner, and 
must find money. I and Hawkesley drew some bills together. He 
has taken up two, and I " 

" Then you and Hawkesley were a couple of fools for your pains," 
intemperately interrupted Mr. Dare. "There's no game so 
dangerous, so delusive, as that of drawing bills. Have I not told 
you so, over and over again? Simple debt may be put off from 
month to month, and from year to year ; but bills are nasty things. 



THE DARES AT HOME. 



163 



When I was a young man I lived for years upon promises to pay, 
but I took care not to put my name to a bill." 
" Hawkesley " 

" Hawkesley may do what you must not," interrupted Mr. Dare, 
drowning his son's voice. " He has his father's long rent-roll to 
turn to. Recollect, Anthony, this must not occur again. It is 
impossible that I can be called upon periodically for these sums. 
Herbert is almost a man, and Cyril and George are growing up. 
A pretty thing, if you were all to come upon me in this manner. 
I have to exert my wits, as it is, I can tell you. I'll give you a 
cheque to- morrow ; and I should serve you right if I were to put 
you upon half allowance until I am repaid." 

Mr. Dare finished his wine, rang for the table to be cleared, and 
left the room. Anthony remained standing against the side of the 
window, half in, half out, buried in a brown study, when Herbert 
came up, leaping over the grass. Herbert was nearly as tall as 
Anthony. He had been for some time articled to his father, but 
had only joined the office the previous Midsummer. He looked 
into the room, and saw it was empty. 

u Where's the governor ? " 

" Gone somewhere. Into the drawing-room, perhaps," replied 
Anthony. 

"What a nuisance !" ejaculated Herbert. "One can't talk to 
him before the girls. I want twenty-five shillings from him. 
Markham has the primest fishing-rod to sell, and I must have it." 

" Twenty-five shillings for a fishing-rod ! " cried Anthony. 

"And cheap at the price," answered Herbert. "You don't often 
see so complete a thing as this. Markham would not part with it 
— it's a relic of his better days, he says — only his old mother wants 
some comfort or other, which he can't otherwise afford. The 
case " 

" You have half a dozen fishing-rods already." 

" Half a dozen rubbish ! That's what they are, compared with 
this one. It's no business of yours, Anthony." 

"Not at all. But you'll oblige me, Herbert, by not bothering 
the governor for money to-night. I have been asking him for 
some, and it has put him out." 

" Did you get it?" 

Anthony nodded. 

" Then you'll let me have the one-pound-five, Anthony? n 

" I can't," returned Anthony. " I shall have a cheque to-morrow, 
and I must pay it away whole. That won't clear me. But I didn't 
dare to tell of more." 

" If I don't get that fishing-rod to-night, Markham may sell it to 
some one else," grumbled Herbert. 

" Go and get it," replied Anthony. " Promise him the money for 
to-morrow. You are not obliged to give it, you know. The 
governor has just said that he lived for years upon promises to 
pay." 



1 64 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Markham wants the money down." 

" He'll think that as good as down if you tell him he shall have 
it to-morrow. Bring the fishing-rod away ; possession's nine points 
of the law, you know." 

" He'll make such an awful row afterwards, if he finds he does 
not get the money." 

" Let him. You can row again. It's the easiest thing on earth 
to fence off little paltry debts like that. People get tired of asking 
for them." 

Away vaulted Herbert for the fishing-rod. Anthony yawned, 
stretched himself, and walked out just as twilight was fading. He 
was going out to keep an appointment. 

Herbert Dare went back to Markham 's. The man — though, 
indeed, so far as birth went he might be called a gentleman — lived 
a little way beyond Mr. Dare's. The cottage was situated in the 
midst of a large garden, in which Markham worked late and early. 
He had a very, very small patrimony upon which he lived and kept 
his mother. He was bending over one of the beds when Herbert 
returned. "He would take the fishing-rod then, and bring the 
money over at nine in the morning, before going to the office. 
Mr. Dare was gone out, or he would have brought it at once," was 
the substance of the words in which Herbert concluded the 
negotiation. 

Could they have looked behind the hedge at that moment, 
Herbert Dare and Markham, they would have seen two young 
gentlemen suddenly duck down under its shelter, creep silently 
along, heedless of the ditch, which, however, was tolerably dry at 
that season, make a sudden bolt across the road, when they got 
opposite the entrance of Mr. Dare's, and whisk inside its gates. 
They were Cyril and George. That they had been at some mis- 
chief, and were trying to escape detection, was unmistakable. 
Under cover of the garden-wall, as they had previously done under 
cover of the hedge, crept they ; sprang into the house by the 
dining-room window, tore up the stairs, and took refuge in the 
drawing-room, startlingly arousing Mrs. Dare from her after-dinner 
slumbers. 

In point of fact, they had reckoned upon finding the room un- 
occupied. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THROWING AT THE BATS. 

AROUSED thus abruptly out of sleep, cross and startled, Mrs. Dare 
attacked the two boys with angry words. " I will know what 
you have been doing," she exclaimed, rising and shaking out the 
flounces of her dress. " You hare been at some mischief ! Why 



THROWING AT THE BATS. 



do you come violently in, in this manner, looking as frightened as 
hares?" 

" Not frightened," replied Cyril. " We are only hot. We had a 
run for it." 

" A run for what ? " she repeated. " When I say I will know a 
thing, I mean to know it. I ask you what you have been doing? " 

"It's nothing very dreadful, that you need put yourself out," 
replied George. " One of old Markham's windows has come to 
grief." 

" Then that's through throwing stones again ! " exclaimed Mrs. 
Dare. " Now, I am certain of it, and you need not attempt to deny 
it. You shall pay for it out of your own pocket-money, if he comes 
here, as he did the last time." 

"Ah, but he won't come here," returned Cyril. " He didn't see 
us. Is tea not ready ? " 

"You can go in the school-room and see. You are to take it 
there this evening." 

The boys tore away to the school-room. Unlike Julia, they did 
not care where they took it, provided they had it. Miss Benyon 
was pouring out the tea as they entered. They threw themselves 
on a sofa, and burst into a fit of laughter so immoderate and long, 
that their two young sisters crowded round eagerly, asking to hear 
the joke. 

"It was the primest fun!" cried Cyril, when he could speak. 
"We have just smashed one of Markham's windows. The old 
woman was at it in a nightcap, and I think the stone must have 
touched her head. Markham and Herbert were holding a confab 
together and they never saw us ! " 

" We were chucking at the leathering-bats," put in George, jealous 
that his brother should have all the telling to himself, "and the 
stone " 

" It is leather-winged bat, George," interrupted the governess. 
" I corrected you the other night." 

" What does it matter ? " roughly answered George. " I wish 
you'd not put me out. A leathering-bat dipped down nearly right 
upon our heads, and we both heaved at him, and one of the stones 
went through the window, nearly taking, as Cyril says, old Mother 
Markham's head. Won't they be in a temper at having to pay for 
it ! They are as poor as charity." 

" They'll make you pay," said Rosa. 

"Will they?" retorted Cyril. "No catch, no have! I'll give 
them leave to make us pay when they find us out. Do you suppose 
we are donkeys, you girls ? We dipped down under the hedge, and 
not a soul saw us. What's for tea? " 

" Bread and butter," replied the governess. 

" Then those may eat it that like ! I shall have jam." 

Cyril rang the bell as he spoke. Nancy, the maid who waited on 
the school-room, came in answer to it. " Some jam," said Cyril. 
" And be quick over it." 



1 66 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" What sort, sir ? " inquired Nancy. 
"Sort? oh — let's see: damson." 

" The damson jam was finished last week, sir. It is nearly the 
season to make more." 

Cyril replied by a rude and ugly word. After some cogitation, he 
decided upon black currant. 

" And bring me up some apricot," put in George. 

"And we'll have some gooseberry," called out Rosa. "If you 
boys have jam, we'll have some too." 

Nancy disappeared. Cyril suddenly threw himself back on the 
sofa, and burst into another ringing laugh. " I can't help it," he 
exclaimed. " I am thinking of the old woman's fright, and their 
dismay at having to pay the damage." 

" Do you know what I should do in your place, Cyril?" said Miss 
Benyon. " I should go back to Markham, and tell him honourably 
that I caused the accident. You know how poor they are ; they 
cannot afford to pay for it." 

Cyril stared at Miss Benyon. " Where'd be the pull of that ? " 
asked he. 

" The ( pull,' Cyril, would be, that you would repair a wrong done 
to an unoffending neighbour, and might go to sleep with a clear 
conscience." 

The last suggestion amused Cyril amazingly ; he and conscience 
had not a great deal to do with each other. He was politely telling 
Miss Benyon that those notions were good enough for old maids, 
when Nancy appeared with the several sorts of jam demanded. 
Cyril drew his chair to the table, and Nancy went down. 

" Ring the bell, Rosa/' said Cyril, before the girl could well have 
reached the kitchen. " I can't see one sort from another ; we must 
have candles." 

" Ring it yourself," retorted Rosa. 

" George, ring the bell," commanded Cyril. 

George obeyed. He was under Cyril in the college school, and 
accustomed to obey him. " You might have told Nancy when she 
was here," remarked Miss Benyon to Cyril. " It would have saved 
her a journey." 

" And if it would ? " asked Cyril. " What were servants' legs 
made for, but to be used ? " 

Nancy received the order for the candles, and brought them up. 
It was to be hoped her legs were made to be used, for scarcely had 
Cyril begun to enjoy his black currant jam, when they were heard 
coming up the stairs again. 

" Master Cyril, Mr. Markham wants to see you." 

Cyril and the rest exchanged looks. " Did you say I was at home ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Then you were an idiot for your pains ! I can't come down, 
tell him. I am at tea." 

Down went Nancy accordingly. And back she came again. " He 
says he must see you, Master Cyril." 



THROWING AT THE BATS. 



" Be a man, Cyril, and face it," whispered Miss Benyon in his ear. 

Cyril jerked his head rudely away from her. " I won't go down. 
There ! Nancy, you may tell Markham so." 

" He has sat down on the garden bench, sir, outside the window 
to wait," explained Nancy. "He says, if you won't see him he shall 
ask for Mr. Dare." 

Cyril appeared to be in for it. He dashed his bread and jam on 
the table, and clattered down. "Who's wanting me?" called'out 
he, when he got outside. " Oh ! — is it you, Markham?" 

" How came you to throw a stone just now, and break my win- 
dow, Cyril Dare?" 

The words threw Cyril into the greatest apparent surprise. " 1 
throw a stone and break your window ! " repeated he. " I don't 
know what you mean." 

" Either you or your brother threw it ; you were both together. 
It entered my mother's bed-room window, and went within an inch 
of her head. I'll trouble you to send a glazier round to put the 
pane in." 

" Well, of all strange accusations, this is about the strangest ! " 
uttered Cyril. " We have not been near your window ; we are up- 
stairs at our tea." 

At this juncture, Mr. Dare came out. He had heard the alterca- 
tion in the house. "What's this?" asked he. "Good evening, 
Markham." 

Markham explained. " They crouched down under the hedge 
when they had done the mischief," he continued, " thinking, no 
doubt, to get away undetected. But, as it happened, Brooks the 
nurseryman was in his ground behind the opposite hedge, and he 
saw the whole. He says they were throwing at the bats. Now I 
should be sorry to get them punished, Mr. Dare; we have been 
boys ourselves ; but if young gentlemen will throw stones, they 
must pay for any damage they do. I have requested your son to 
send a glazier round in the morning. I am sorry he should have 
denied the fact." 

Mr. Dare turned to Cyril. "If you did it, why do you deny it? " 

Cyril hesitated for the tenth part of a second. Which would be 
the best policy? To give in, or to hold out? He chose the latter. 
His word was as good as that confounded Brooks's, and he'd brave 
it out! "We didn't do it," he angrily said; "we have not been 
near the place this evening. Brooks must have mistaken others 
for us in the dusk." 

" They did do it, Mr. Dare. There's no mistake about it. Brooks 
had been watching them, and he thinks it was the bigger one who 
threw that particular stone. If I had set a house on fire," Mark- 
ham added, to Cyril, " I'd rather confess the accident, than deny it 
by a lie. What sort of a man do you expect to make? " 

" A better one than you ! " insolently retorted Cyril. 

"Wait an instant," said Mr. Dare. He proceeded to the school- 
room to inquire of George. That young gentleman had been an 



168 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



admiring hearer of the colloquy from a staircase-window. He tore 
back to the school-room on the approach of his father ; hastily 
deciding that he must bear out Cyril in the denial. " Now, George," 
said Mr. Dare, sternly, "did you and Cyril do this, or did you 
not?" 

" Of course we did not, papa," was the ready reply. " We have 
not been near Markham's. Brooks must be a fool." 

Mr. Dare believed him. He was leaving the room when Miss 
Benyon interposed. 

" Sir, I should be doing wrong to allow you to be deceived. 
They did break the window." 

The address caused Mr. Dare to pause. " How do you know it, 
Miss Benyon?" 

Miss Benyon related what had passed. Mr. Dare cast his eyes 
sternly upon his youngest son. "It is you who are the fool, 
George, not Brooks. A lie is sure to get found out in the end; 
don't attempt to tell another." 

Mr. Dare went down. " I cannot come quite to the bottom of 
this business, Markham," said he, feeling unwilling to expose his 
sons more than they had exposed themselves. " At all events, you 
shall have the window put in. A pane of glass is not much on 
either side." 

" It is a good deal to my pocket, Mr. Dare. But that's all I ask. 
And you know my character too well to fear I would make a 
doubtful claim. Brooks is open to inquiry." 

He departed; and Mr. Dare touched Cyril on the arm. " Come 
with me." 

He took him into the room, and there ensued an angry lecture. 
Cyril thought George had confessed, and stood silent before his 
father. " What a sneak he must have been ! " thought Cyril. 
"Won't I serve him out?" 

"If you have acquired the habit of speaking falsely, you had 
better relinquish it," resumed Mr. Dare. " It will not be a recom- 
mendation in the eyes of Mr. Ashley." 

" I am not going to Ashley's," burst forth Cyril ; for the mention 
of the subject was sure to anger him. " Turn manufacturer, in- 
deed! I'd rather " 

" You'd rather be a gentleman at large," interrupted Mr. Dare. 
" But," he sarcastically added, " gentlemen require something to 
live upon. Listen, Cyril. One of the finest openings that I know of 
in this city, for a young man, is in Ashley's manufactory. You 
may despise Mr. Ashley for a manufacturer; but others respect 
him. He was reared a gentleman — he is regarded as one; he is 
wealthy, and his business is large and flourishing. Suppose you 
could drop into this, after him? — succeed to this fine business, its 
sole proprietor? I can tell you that you would occupy a better 
position, and be in receipt of a far larger income, than either 
Anthony or Herbert will be." 

" But there's no such chance as that, for me," debated Cyril. 



THROWING AT THE BATS. 



169 



" There is the chance : and that's why you are- to be placed there. 
Henry, from his infirmity, is not to be brought up to business, and 
there is no other son. You will be apprenticed to Mr. Ashley, with 
a view to succeeding, as a son would, first of all to a partnership 
with him, eventually to the whole. Now, this is the prospect 
before you, Cyril ; and prejudiced though you are, you must see 
that it is a fine one." 

" Well," acknowledged Cyril, " I'd not object to drop into a good 
thing like that. Has Mr. Ashley proposed it?" 

" No, he has not distinctly proposed it. But he did admit, when 
your apprenticeship was being spoken of, that he might be wanting 
somebody to succeed him. He more than hinted that whoever 
might be chosen to succeed him, or to be associated with him, must 
be rendered fit for the connection by being an estimable and a good 
man ; one held in honour by his fellow citizens. No other could be 
linked with the name of Ashley. And now, sir, what do you think 
he, Mr. Ashley, would say to your behaviour to-night?" 

Cyril looked rather shamefaced. 

" You will go to Mr. Ashley's, Cyril. But I wish you to remem- 
ber, to remember always, that the ultimate advantages will depend 
upon yourself and your conduct. Become a good man, and there's 
little doubt they will be yours ; turn out indifferently, and there's not 
the slightest chance for you." 

"I shan't succeed to any of Ashley's money, I suppose?" com- 
placently questioned Cyril, who somewhat ignored the conditions, 
and saw himself in prospective Mr. Ashley's successor. 

" It is impossible to say what you may succeed to," replied Mr. 
Dare, in so significant a tone as to surprise Cyril. " Henry Ashley's 
I should imagine to be a doubtful life ; should anything happen to 
him, Mary Ashley will, of course, inherit all. And he will be a 
fortunate man who shall get into her good graces and marry her." 

It was a broad hint to a boy like Cyril. " She's such a proud 
thing, that Mary Ashley ! " grumbled he. 

"She is a very sweet child," was the warm rejoinder of Mr. 
Dare. And Cyril went up-stairs again to his jam, and his inter- 
rupted tea. 

Meanwhile the evening went on, and the drawing-room was 
waiting for the Viscount Hawkesley. Mrs. Dare and Adelaide 
were waiting for him — waiting anxiously in elegant attire. Mr. 
Dare did not seem to care whether he came or not; and Julia, 
who was buried in an easy chair with her book, would have pre- 
ferred, of the two, that he stayed away. Between eight and nine 
he arrived. A little man ; young, fair, with light eyes and sharp 
features, a somewhat cynical expression habitually on his lips. 
Helstonleigh, in its gossip, conjectured that he must be making 
young Anthony Dare useful to him in some way or other, or 
he would not have condescended to the intimacy. For Lord 
Hawkesley, a proud man by nature, had been reared in all the 
exclusiveness of an earl's son and heir ; and that exclusiveness was 



170 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



greater in those days than it is in these. This was the third 
evening visit he had paid to Mrs. Dare. Had Adelaide's good 
looks any attraction for him? She was beginning to think so, and 
to weave visions upon the strength of it. Entrenched, as the Dares 
were, in their folly and assumption, Adelaide was blind to the wide 
social gulf that lay between herself and Viscount Hawkesley. 

She sat down at the piano at his request, and sang an Italian 
song. She had a good voice, and her singing was better than her 
Italian accent. Lord Hawkesley stood by her and looked over the 
music. 

" I like your style of singing very much," he remarked to her 
when the song was over. " You must have learnt of a good 
master." 

" Comme qa? carelessly rejoined Adelaide. As is the case with 
many more young ladies who possess a very superficial knowledge 
of French, she thought it the perfection of good taste to display 
as much of it as she did know. " I had the best professor that 
Helstonleigh can give ; but what are Helstonleigh professors com- 
pared with those of London? We cannot expect first-rate talent 
here." 

"Do you like London ? " asked Lord Hawkesley. 

" I was never there," replied Adelaide, feeling the confession, 
when made to Lord Hawkesley, to be nothing but humiliation. 

" Indeed ! You would enjoy a London season." 

" Oh, so much ! I know nothing of the London season, except 
from books. A contrast to your lordship, you will say," she added, 
with a laugh. " You must be almost tired of it, desillusionne? 

"What's that in English?" inquired Lord Hawkesley, whose 
French studies, as far as they had extended, had been utterly 
thrown away upon him. Labouring under the deficiency, he had 
to make the best of it, and he did it with a boast. " Used up, I 
suppose you mean?" 

Adelaide coloured excessively. She wondered if he was laughing 
at her 5 and made a mental vow never to speak French to a lord 
again. 

"Will you think me exacting, Miss Dare, if I trespass upon you 
for another song?" 

Adelaide did not think him exacting in the least. She was ready 
to sing as long as he pleased. 



( 171 ) 



CHAPTER V. 

CHARLOTTE EAST'S PRESENT. 

TOWARDS dusk, that same evening, Charlotte East went over to 
Mrs. Buffle's for some butter. After she was served, Mrs. Buffle — 
who was a little shrimp of a woman, with a red nose — crossed her 
arms upon the counter, and bent her face towards Charlotte's. 
"Have you heered the news?" asked she. " Mary Ann Cross is 
going to make a match of it with Ben Tyrrett." 

" Is she? " said Charlotte. "They had better wait a few years, 
both of them, until they shall have put by something." 

" They're neither of them of the putting-by sort," returned Mrs. 
Buffle. " Them Crosses is the worst girls to spend in all the Fair : 
unless it's Carry Mason. She don't spare her back, she don't. 
The wonder is, how she gets it." 

" Young girls will dress," observed Charlotte, carelessly. 

Mrs. Buffle laughed. " You speak as if you were an old one." 

" I feel like one sometimes, Mrs. Buffle. When children are left, 
as I and Robert were, with a baby brother to bring up, and hardly 
any means to do it upon, it helps to steady them. Tom " 

Eliza Tyrrett burst in at the door, with a violence that made its 
bell twang and tinkle. " Half-a-pound o' dips, long-tens, Dame 
Buffle, and be quick about it," was her order. "There's such a 
flare-up, in at Mason's." 

" A flare-up ! " repeated Mrs. Buffle, who was always ripe and 
ready for the dish of scandal, whether it touched on domestic differ- 
ences, or on young girls' improvidence in the shape of dress. "Is 
Mason and her having a noise?" 

" It's not him and her. It's about Carry. Hetty Mason locked 
Carry up this afternoon, and Mason never came home at all to 
tea ; he went and had some beer instead, and a turn at skittles, and 
she wouldn't let Carry out. He came in just now, and his wife told 
him a whole heap about Carry, and Mason went up to the cock-loft 
and undid the door, and threatened to kick Carry down. They're 
having it out in the kitchen, all three." 
, " What has Carry done?" asked Mrs. Buffle eagerly. 

" Perhaps Charlotte East can tell," said Eliza Tyrrett, slyly. 
" She has been thick with Carry lately. / am not a-going to spoil 
sport." 

Charlotte took up her butter, and bending a severe look of caution 
on the Tyrrett girl, left the shop. Anthony Dare's reputation was 
not a brilliant one, and the bare fact of Caroline Mason's allowing 
herself to walk with him, would have damaged her in the eyes of 
Honey Fair. As well keep it, if possible, from Mrs. Buffle and 
other gossips. 



172 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



As Charlotte crossed to her own door, she became conscious that 
some one was flying towards her in the dusk of the evening : a 
woman, with a fleet foot and panting breath. Charlotte caught 
hold of her. " Caroline, where are you going ? " 

" Let me alone, Charlotte East " — and Caroline's nostrils were 
working, her eyes flashing. " I have left their house for ever, and 
I am going to one who will give me a better." 

Charlotte held her tight. " You must not go, Caroline. 

" I will," she defiantly answered. " I have chose my lot this 
night for better and for worse. Will I stay to be taunted without 
a cause? To be told I am what I am not? No! If anything 
should happen to me, let them reproach themselves, for they have 
driven me on to it." 

Charlotte tried her utmost to restrain the wild girl. " Caroline," 
she urged, " this is the turning-point in your life. A step forward, 
and you may have passed it beyond recall ; a step backwards, and 
you may be saved for ever. Come home with me." 

Caroline in her madness — it was little else — turned her ghastly 
face upon Charlotte. " You shan't stop me, Charlotte East ! You 
go your way, and I'll go mine. Shall Mark and she go on at me 
without cause, calling me false names?" 

" Come home with me, Caroline. You shall stop with me to- 
night; you shan't go back to Hetty. My bed's not large, but it 
will hold us." 

" I won't, I won't ! " she uttered, struggling to be free. 
" Only for a minute," implored Charlotte. " Come in for a minute 
until you are calm. You are mad just now." 
" I am driven to it. There ! " 

With a jerk she wrenched herself from Charlotte's grasp, passion 
giving her strength : and she flew onwards and was lost in the 
dusky night. Charlotte East ran home. Her brothers were there. 
" Tom," said she, " put this butter in the cupboard for me ; " and 
out she went again. At the end of Honey Fair, a road lay each 
way. Which should she take ? Which had Caroline taken ? 

She chose the one to the right — it was the most retired — and 
went groping about it for twenty minutes. As it happened, as 
such things generally do happen, Caroline had taken the other, 
i In a sheltered part of that, which lay back, away from the glare 
of the gas-lamps, Caroline had taken refuge. She had expected 
some one would be there to meet her; but she found herself 
mistaken. Down she sat on a stone, and her wild passion began 
to diminish. 

Nearly half an hour afterwards, Charlotte found her there. 
Caroline was talking to Anthony Dare, who had just come up. 
Charlotte grasped Caroline. 

" You must come with me, Caroline." 

"Who on earth are you, and what do you want intruding here?" 
demanded Anthony Dare, turning round with a fierce stare on 
Charlotte. 



CHARLOTTE EAST'S PRESENT. 173 

" I am Charlotte East, sir, if it is any matter to you to know my 
name, and I am a friend of Caroline Mason's. I am here to take 
her out of harm's way." 

" There's nothing to harm her here," haughtily answered young 
Anthony. " Mind your own business." 

" I am afraid there is one thing to harm her, sir, and that's you," 
said brave Charlotte. " You can't come among us people at Honey 
Fair for any good. Folks bent on good errands don't need to wait 
till dark, before they pay their visits. You had better give up 
prowling about this place, Mr. Anthony Dare. Stay with your 
equals, sir ; with those that will be a match for you." 

" The woman must be deranged ! " uttered Anthony, going into a 
terrible passion. " How dare you presume to say such things to 
me?" 

" How dare you, sir, set yourself out to work ill?" retorted 
Charlotte. "Come along, Caroline," she added to the girl, who 
was now crying bitterly. " As for you, sir, if you mean no harm, as 
you say, and it is necessary that you should condescend to visit 
Honey Fair, please to pay your visits in the broad light ot day." 

No very pleasant word broke from Anthony Dare. He would 
have liked to exterminate Charlotte. " Caroline," foamed he, 
"order this woman away. If I could see a policeman, I'd give her 
in charge." 

" Sir, if you dare attempt to detain her, I'll appeal to the first 
passer-by. I'll tell them to look at the great and grand Mr. 
Anthony Dare, and to ask him what he wants here, night after 
night." 

Even as Charlotte spoke, footsteps were heard, and two gentle- 
men, talking together, advanced. The voice of one fell familiarly 
on the ear of Anthony Dare, familiarly on that of Charlotte East. 
The latter uttered a joyful cry. 

" There's Mr. Ashley ! Loose her, sir, or I'll call to him." 

To have Mr. Ashley " called to " on the point would not be alto- 
gether agreeable to the feelings of young Anthony. " You fool ! " 
he exclaimed to Charlotte East, "what harm do you suppose I 
meant, or thought of? You must be a very strange person yourself, 
to get such a thing into your imagination. Good night, Caroline." 

And, turning on his heel haughtily, Anthony Dare stalked off in 
the direction of Helstonleigh. Mr. Ashley passed on, having 
noticed nothing, and Charlotte East wound her arm round the 
sobbing girl, subdued now, and led her home. 

Anthony went straight to Pomeranian Knoll. He threw him- 
self on to a sofa in a very ill humour. Lord Hawkesley was 
occupied with Adelaide and her singing, and paid little attention 
to him. 

At the close of the evening they left together, Anthony going out 
with the Viscount, and linking his arm within his lordship's, as they 
proceeded towards the Star Hotel, Lord Hawkesley's usual quarter^ 
when in Helstonleigh, 



i 7 4 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 

" I have got two hundred out of the governor," began Anthony in 
a confidential tone. " I shall have the cheque to-morrow." 

"What's two hundred, Dare?" slightingly spoke his lordship. 
" It's nothing." 

"It was of no use trying for more to-night. The two hundred 
will stop present worry, Hawkesley ; the future must be provided 
for when it comes." And they walked on with a quicker step. 

Mrs. Dare had looked at her watch as they departed. It was 
half-past eleven. She said she supposed they might as well be 
going to bed, and Mr. Dare roused himself. For the last half-hour 
he had been half asleep ; quite asleep he did not choose to fall, in 
the young nobleman's presence. A viscount, to Lawyer Dare, was 
a viscount. "Where's Herbert?" asked he, stretching himself. 
Master Herbert, Joseph answered, had had supper served (not 
being able to recover from the short allowance at dinner), and had 
gone to bed. The rest, except Adelaide, had gone before, free from 
want, from care, full of the good things of this life. The young 
Halliburtons, their cousins once removed, had knelt and thanked 
God for the day's good, even though that day to them had been 
what all their days were now, one of poverty and privation. Not so 
the Dares. As children, for they were not in a heathen land, they 
had been taught to say their prayers at night ; but as they grew older, 
the custom was suffered to fall into disuse. The family attended 
church on Sundays, grandly attired, and there ended their religion. 

To bed and to sleep went they, all the household, old and young 
— Joseph, the man-servant, excepted. Sleepy Joseph stretched 
himself in a large chair to wait the return of Mr. Anthony : sleepy 
Joseph had so to stretch himself most nights. Mr. Anthony might 
come in in an hour's time, or Mr. Anthony might not come in until 
it was nearly time to commence the day's duties in the morning. 
It was all a chance ; as poor Joseph knew to his cost. 

Nine o'clock was the breakfast hour at Mr. Dare's, and the 
family were in general pretty punctual to it. On the following 
morning they were all assembled at the meal, Anthony rather red 
about the eyes, when Ann, the housemaid entered. 
" Here's a parcel for you, Mr. Anthony." 

She held in her arms a large untidy sort of bundle, done round 
with string. Anthony turned his wondering eyes upon it 
"That! It can't be for me." 

" A boy brought it, and said it was for you, sir," returned Ann, 
letting the cumbersome parcel fall on a chair. " I asked if there 
was any answer, and he said there was not." 

" It must be from your tailor, Anthony," said Mrs. Dare. 

Anthony's consequence was offended at the suggestion. " My 
tailor send me a parcel done up like that ! " repeated he. "He had 
better ! He would get no more of my custom." 

"What an extraordinary direction ! " exclaimed Julia, who had 
got up, and drawn near, in her curiosity : " 1 Young Mister Antony 
Dare ! 1 Just look, all of you." 



THE FEAR GROWING GREATER. 



'75 



Anthony rose, and the rest followed, except Mr. Dare, who was 
busy with a county paper, and paid no attention. A happy thought 
darted into Minny's mind. " I know ! " she cried, clapping her 
hands. " Cyril and George are playing Anthony a trick, like the 
one they played Miss Benyon." 

Anthony, too hastily taking up the view thus suggested, and 
inwardly vowing a not agreeable chastisement to the two, as soon 
as they should rush in to breakfast from school, took out his pen- 
knife and severed the string. The paper fell apart, and the contents 
rolled on to the floor. 

What on earth were they ? What did they mean ? A woman's 
gown, tawdry but pretty ; a shawl ; a neck-scarf, with gold-coloured 
fringe ; two pairs of gloves, the fingers worn into holes ; a bow of 
handsome ribbon ; a cameo brooch, fine and false ; and one or two 
more such articles, not new, stood disclosed. The party around 
gazed in sheer amazement. 

" If ever I saw such a collection as this !" exclaimed Mrs. Dare. 
"It is a woman's clothing. Why should they have been sent to 
you, Anthony ? " 

Anthony's cheek wore rather a conscious colour just then. " How 
should I know ? " he replied. " They must have been directed to 
me by mistake. Take the rags away, Ann " — spurning them with 
his foot — "and throw them in the dust-bin. Who knows what 
infected place they may have come from ? " 

Mrs. Dare and the young ladies shrieked at the last suggestion, 
gathered their petticoats about them, and retired as far as the 
limits of the room allowed. Some enemy of malicious intent must 
have done it, they became convinced. Ann — no more liking to be 
infected with measles, or what not, than they — seized the tongs, 
gingerly lifted the articles inside the paper, dragged the whole out- 
side the door, and called Joseph to carry them to the receptacle 
indicated by Mr. Anthony. 

Charlotte East had thought she would not do her work by halves. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE FEAR GROWING GREATER. 

We must leap over some months. A story, you know, cannot stand 
still, any more than we can. 

Spring had come round. The sofa belonging to Mrs. Reece's 
parlour was in Mrs. Halliburton's, and Janey was lying on it — her 
blue eyes bright, her cheeks hectic, her fair curls falling in disorder. 
Through autumn, through winter, it had appeared that Dobbs's 
prognostications of evil for Jane were not to be borne out, for she 
had recovered from the temporary indications of illness, and had 
continued well ; but, with the early spring weather, Jane failed, and 



176 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



failed rapidly. The cough came back, and great weakness grew 
upon her. She was always wanting to be at rest, and would lie 
about anywhere. Spreading a cloak on the floor, with a pillow for 
her head, Janey would plant herself between her mother and the 
fire, pulling the cloak up on the side near the door. One day 
Dobbs came in and saw her there. 

"My heart alive!" uttered Dobbs, when she had recovered her 
surprise ; " what are you lying down there for ? " 

" I am tired," replied Janey ; " and there's nowhere else to lie. If 
I put three chairs together, it is not comfortable, and the pillow 
rolls off." 

"There's the sofa in our room," said Dobbs. "Why don't you 
lie on that?" 

" So I do, you know, Dobbs ; but I want to talk to mamma some- 
times." 

Dobbs disappeared. Presently there was a floundering and 
thumping heard in the passage, and the sofa was propelled in by 
Dobbs, very red with the exertion. " My missis is indignant to 
think that the child should be upon the floor," cried she, wrathfully. 
" One would suppose some folks were born without brains, or the 
sofa might have been asked for." 

"But, Dobbs," said Janey — and she was allowed to "Dobbs" as 
much as she pleased, unreproved — "what am I to lie on in your 
room? " 

" Isn't there my easy chair, with the high foot-board in front — as 
good as a bed when you let it out? " returned Dobbs, proceeding to 
place Janey comfortably on the sofa. " And now let me say what 
I came in to say, when the sight of that child on the cold floor sent 
me shocked out again," she added, turning to Jane. " My missis's 
leg is no better to-day, and she has made up her mind to have 
Parry. It's erysipelas, as sure as a gun. Every other spring, 
about, she's laid up with it in her legs, one or the other of 'em. 
Ten weeks I have known her in bed with it " 

" The very best preventive to erysipelas is to take an occasional 
warm bath," interrupted Jane. 

The suggestion gave immense offence to Dobbs. "A warm 
bath ! " she uttered, ironically. " And how, pray, should my missis 
take a warm bath ? Sit down in a mashing-tub, and have a furnace 
of boiling water turned on to her ? Those new-fangled notions may 
do for Londoners, but they are not known at Helstonleigh. Warm 
baths!" repeated Dobbs, with increased scorn : "hadn't you better 
propose a water-bed at once ? I have heard that they are inventing 
them also." 

" I have heard so, too," pleasantly replied Jane. 

" Well, my missis is going to have Parry up, and she intends 
that he shall see Janey and give her some physic — if physic will be 
of use,'* added Dobbs, with an incredulous sniff. " My missis says 
it will. She puts faith in Parry's physic as if it was gold ; it's a 
good tbing she's not jjl often, or she'4 let herself be poisoned if 



THE FEAR GROWING GREATER. 



177 



quantity could poison her ! And, Janey, you'll take the physic, like 
a precious lamb ; and heaps of nice things you shall have after it, 
to drive the taste out. Warm baths!" ejaculated Dobbs, as she 
went out, returning to the old grievance. " I wonder what the 
world's coming to?" 

Mr. Parry was called in, and soon had his two regular patients 
there. Mrs. Reece was confined to her bed with erysipelas in her 
leg ; and if Janey seemed better one day, she seemed worse the 
next. The surgeon did not say what was the matter with Jane. 
He ordered her everything good in the shape of food ; he particu- 
larly ordered port wine. An hour after the latter order had been 
given Dobbs appeared, with a full decanter in her hand. 

" It's two glasses a day that she is to take — one at eleven and 
one at three," cried she without circumlocution. 

" But, indeed, I cannot think of accepting so costly a thing from 
Mrs. Reece as port wine," interrupted Jane, in consternation. 

" You can do as you like, ma'am," said Dobbs with equanimity. 
" Janey will accept it ; she'll drink her two glasses of wine daily, if 
I have to come and drench her with it. And it won't be any cost 
out of my missis's pocket, if that's what you are thinking of," logi- 
cally proceeded Dobbs. ' ' Parry says it will be a good three months 
before she can take her wine again ; so Janey can drink it for her. 
If my missis grudged her port wine or was cramped in pocket, I 
should not take my one glass a day, which I do regular." 

" I can never repay you and Mrs. Reece for your kindness and 
generosity to Jane," sighed Mrs. Halliburton. 

"You can do it when you are asked," was Dobbs's retort. 
" There's the wing and merrythought of a fowl coming in for her 
dinner, with a bit of sweet boiled pork. I don't give myself the 
ceremony of cloth-laying, now my missis is in bed, but just eat it 
in the rough; so the child had better have hers brought in here 
comfortably, till my missis is down again. And, Janey, you'll come 
upstairs to tea to us ; I have taken up the easy chair." 

" Thank you very much, Dobbs," said Janey. 

" And don't you let them cormorants be eating her dinners or 
drinking her wine," said Dobbs, fiercely, as she was going out. 
" Keep a sharp look-out upon 'em." 

" They would not do it ! " warmly replied Jane. " You do not 
know my boys yet, if you think they would rob their sick sister." 

" I know that boys' stomachs are always on the crave for any- 
thing that's good," retorted Dobbs. " You might skin a boy if you 
were forced to it, but you'd never drive his nature out of him ; and 
that's to be always eating ! " 

So she had even this help— port wine ! It seemed almost beyond 
belief, and Jane lost herself in thought. 

" Mamma, you don't hear me ! " 

" Did you speak, Janey?" 

" I say I think Dobbs got that fowl for me. Mrs. Reece is not 
taking meat, and Dobbs would not buy a fowl for herself. She will 

Mrs Halliburton's Troubles. 12 



178 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



give m€ all the best parts, and pick the bones herself. . You'll see. 
How kind they are to me ! What should I have done, mamma, if 
I had only our plain food? I know I could not eat it now." 

" God is over us, my dear child," was Jane's reply. " It is He 
who has directed this help to us : never doubt it, Jane. Whether 
we live or die," she added pointedly, " we are in His hands, and He 
orders all things for the best." 

" Can to die be for the best ? " asked Janey, sitting up to think 
over the question. 

" Why, yes, my dear girl ; certainly it is, if God wills it. How 
often have I talked to you about the rest after the grave ! No 
more tears, no more partings. Which is best — to be here, or to go 
to that rest? Oh, Janey! we can put up surely with illness and 
with crosses here, if we may only attain to that. This world will 
last only for a little while at best ; but that other will abide for ever 
and for ever." 

A summons from Mr. Parry's boy : Miss Halliburton's medicine 
had arrived. Miss Halliburton made a grievous face over it, when 
her mamma poured the dose out. " I never can take it ! It smells 
so nasty ! " 

Jane held the wine-glass towards her, a grave, kind smile upon 
her face. " My darling, it is one of earth's little crosses ; try and 
not rebel against it. Here's a bit of Patience's jam left, to take 
after it." 

Janey smiled bravely as she took the glass. " It was not so bad 
as I thought, mamma," said she, when she had swallowed it. 

" Of course not, Janey ; nothing is, that we set about with a brave 
heart." 

But, with every good thing, Janey did not improve. Her mother 
shrank from admitting the fact that was only growing too palpable ; 
and Dobbs would come in and sit looking at Janey for a quarter of 
an hour together, never speaking. 

" Why do you look at me so, Dobbs?" asked Janey, one day, 
suddenly. " You were crying when you looked at me last night at 
dusk." 

Dobbs was rather taken to. " I had been peeling onions," said 
she. 

"Why do you shrink from looking at the truth? " an inward voice 
kept repeating in Mrs. Halliburton's heart. " Is it right, or wise, or 
well to do so? " No ; she knew that it could not be. 

That same day, after Mr. Parry had paid his visit to Mrs. Reece, 
he looked in upon Janey. " Am I getting better?" she asked him. 
" I want to go into the green fields again, and run about." 

" Ah," said he, " we must wait for that, little maid." 

Jane went out to the door with him. When he put out his hand 
to say good morning, he saw that she was white with emotion, 
and could not speak readily. " Will she live or die, Mr. Parry?" 
was the whispered question that came at last. 

" Now, don't distress yourself, Mrs. Halliburton. In these 



THE FEAR GROWING GREATER. 



179 



lingering cases we must be content to wait the issue, whatever it 
may be." 

" I have had so much trouble of one sort or another, that I think 
I have become inured to it," she continued, striving to speak more 
calmly. " These several days past I have been deciding to ask you 
the truth. If I am to lose her, it will be better that I should know 
it beforehand : it will be easier for me to bear. She is in danger, 
is she not?" 

" Yes," he replied ; " I fear she is." 

"Is there any hope? " 

" Well, you know, Mrs. Halliburton, while there is life there is 
hope." 

His tone was kindly; but she could not well mistake that, of 
human hope, there was none. Her lips were pale — her bosom was 
heaving. " I understand," she murmured. " Tell me one other 
thing : how near is the end ? " 

" That I really cannot tell you," he more readily replied. " These 
cases vary much in their progression. Do not be downcast, Mrs. 
Halliburton. We must every one of us go, sooner or later. Some- 
times I wish I could see all mine gone before me, rather than leave 
them behind, to the cares of this troublous world." 

He shook hands and departed. Jane crept softly upstairs to her 
own room, and was shut in for ten minutes. Poor thing ! she could 
not spare time for the indulgence of grief, as others might! she 
must hasten to her never-ceasing work. She had her task to do ; 
and, ten minutes lost from it in the day must be made up at night. 

As she was going downstairs, with red eyes, Mrs. Reece heard 
her footstep, and called to her from her bed. "Is that you, 
ma'am ? " 

So Jane had to go in. " Are you better? " she inquired. 

" No, ma'am, I don't see much improvement," replied the old lady. 
" Mr. Parry is going to change the lotion ; but it's a thing that will 
have its course. How is Janey ? Does he say ? " 

" She is much the same," said Jane. " She grows no better. I fear 
she never will." 

"Ay! so Dobbs says; and it strikes me Parry has told her so. 
Now, ma'am, you spare nothing that can do her good. Whatever 
she fancies, tell Dobbs, and it shall be had. I would not, for the 
world, have a dying child stinted while I can help it. Don't spare 
wine ; don't spare anything." 

" A dying child ! " The words, in spite of Jane's previous convic- 
tions ; nay, her knowledge ; caused her heart to sink with a chill. 
She proceeded, as she had done many times before, to express a tithe 
of her gratitude to Mrs. Reece for the substantial kindness shown to 
Janey. 

" Don't say anything about it, ma'am," returned the old lady in 
her simple, straightforward way. " I have neither chick nor child 
of my own, and both I and Dobbs have taken a liking for Janey. 
We can't think anything we can do too much for her. I have spoken 



180 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



to Parry — therefore, don't spare his services ; at any hour of the day 
or night, send for him, if you deem it necessary." 

With another attempt at heartfelt thanks, Jane went down. Full 
as her cup was to the brim, she was yet overwhelmed with the sense 
of kindness shown. From that time she set herself to the task 
of preparing Janey for the great change, by gradual degrees — a little 
now, a little then : to make her long for the translation to that better 
land. 

One evening, about eight o'clock, Patience entered — partly to in- 
quire after Janey, partly to ask William if he would go to bring Anna 
from Mrs. Ashley's, where she had been taking tea, Samuel Lynn 
was detained in the town on business, and Grace had been permitted 
to go out : therefore, Patience had no one to send. William left his 
books, and went out with alacrity. Patience sat down by Janey's sofa. 

" I get so tired, Patience. I wish I had some pretty books to 
read ! I have read all Anna's over and over again." 

" And she won't eat solids now, and she grows tired of mutton- 
broth, and sago, and egg-flip, and those things," put in Dobbs, in an 
injured tone, who was also sitting there. 

" I would try her with a little beef-tea, made with plenty of carrots, 
and thickened with arrowroot," said Patience. 

" Beef-tea, made with carrots, and thickened with arrowroot ! " 
ungraciously responded Dobbs, who held in contempt every one's 
cooking except her own. 

" I can tell thee that it is one of the nicest things taken," said 
Patience. " It might be a change for the child." 

" How's it made ? " asked Dobbs. " It might do for my missis : 
she's tired of mutton broth." 

" Slice a pound of lean beef, and let it soak for two hours in a 
quart of cold water," replied Patience. " Then put meat and water 
into a saucepan, with a couple of large carrots, scraped and sliced. 
Let it warm gradually, and then simmer for about four hours, thee 
putting salt to taste. Strain it off ; and, when cold, take off the fat. 
As the broth is wanted, stir it up, and take from it as much as may 
be required, boiling the portion, for a minute, with a little arrowroot." 

Dobbs condescended to intimate that, perhaps she might try it; 
though she'd be bound it was poor stuff. 

William had hastened to Mr. Ashley's. He was shown into a 
room to wait for Anna, and his attention was immediately attracted 
by a shelf full of children's story-books. He knew they were just 
what Janey was longing for. He had taken some in his hand, 
when Anna came in, ready for him, accompanied by Mrs. Ashley, 
Mary, and Henry. Then William became aware of the liberty he 
had taken in touching the things, and, in his self-consciousness, the 
colour, as usual, rushed to his face. It was a frank, ingenuous 
face, with its fair, open forehead, and its earnest, dark grey eyes ; 
and Mrs. Ashley thought it so. 

" Were you looking at our books ? " asked Henry, who was in a 
remarkably good humour. 



THE FEAR GROWING GREATER. 181 



" I am sorry to have touched them," replied William. " I was 
thinking of something else." 

" I would be nearly sure thee were thinking of thy sister," cried 
Anna, who had an ever-ready tongue. 

" Yes, I was," replied William candidly. " I was wishing she 
could read them." 

" I have told her about the books," said Anna, turning from 
William to the rest. " I related to her as much as I could remember 
of 1 Anna Ross : ' that bo'ok which thee had in thy hand, William. 
She would so like to read them ; she is always ill." 

"Is she very ill?" inquired Mrs. Ashley. 

" She is dying," replied Anna. 

It was the first intimation William had received of the great fear. 
His countenance changed, his heart beat wildly. " Oh, Anna! who 
says it ? " he cried out, in a low, wailing tone. 

There was a dead silence. Anna's announcement sounded suffi- 
ciently startling, and Mrs. Ashley looked with sympathy at the 
evidently agitated boy. 

" There ! that's my tongue ! " cried Anna repentantly. " Patience 
says she wonders some one does not cut it out for me." 

Mary Ashley — a fair, gentle little girl, with large brown eyes, 
like Henry's — stepped forward, full of sympathy. " I have heard 
of your sister from Anna," she said. " She is welcome to read all 
my books ; you can take some to her now, and change them as 
often as you like." 

How pleased William was ! Mary selected four, and gave them 
to him. "Anna Ross," "The Blind Farmer," "Theophilus and 
Sophia," and " Margaret White." Very old, some of the books, and 
childish; but admirably suited to what people were beginning to 
call Jane — a dying child. 

" I say," cried out Henry, a little aristocratic patronage in his 
tone, as William was departing, "how do you get on with your 
Latin?" 

" I get on very well. Not quite so fast as I should with a master. 
I have to puzzle out difficulties for myself, and I am not sure but 
that's one of the best ways to get on. I go on with my Greek, too ; 
and Euclid, and " 

" How much time do you work?" burst forth Henry. 

" From six o'clock till half-past nine. A little of the time, I am 
helping my brothers." 

" There's perseverance, Henry ! " cried Mrs. Ashley ; and Master 
Henry shrugged his shoulders. 

"Anna," began William, as they walked along, "how do you 
know that Janey is so ill?" 

" Now, William, thee must ask thy mother whether sne is ill or 
not. She may get well — how do I know? She was ill last summer, 
and Hannah Dobbs would have it she was in a bad way then ; but 
she recovered. Dost thee know what Patience says? " 

" What ? " asked William eagerly. 



182 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Patience says I have ten ears where I ought to have two ; and 
I think thee hast the same. Fare thee well," she added, as they 
reached her door. " Thank thee for coming for me." 

William waited at the gate until Anna was admitted, and then 
hastened home. Jane was alone, working as usual. 

" Mamma, is it true that Janey is dying? " 

Jane's heart gave a leap; and poor William, as she saw, could 
scarcely speak for agitation. " Who told you that ? " she asked in 
a low tone. 

" Anna Lynn. Is it true ? " 

" William, I fear it may be. Don't grieve, child ! don't grieve !" 

William had laid his head down upon the table, the sobs breaking 
forth. His poor mother left her seat, and bent her head down 
beside him, sobbing also. 

" William, for my sake, don't grieve ! " she whispered. " God 
alone knows what is good. He would not take her unless it were 
for the best." 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE END. 

April passed. May was passing ; and the end of Jane Halliburton 
was at hand. There was no secret now about her state ; but she 
was going away very peacefully. 

In this month, May, there occurred another vacancy in the choir 
of the cathedral. Little Gar — but he was growing too big now to 
be called Little Gar — proved to be the successful candidate ; so that 
both boys were now in the choir. 

"It will be such a help to me, learning to chant, should I ever 
try for a minor canonry," boasted Gar, who never tired of telling 
them that he meant to be a clergyman. 

" Gar, dear, did you ever sit down and count the cost?" asked 
Mrs. Halliburton. " I fear it will not be your luck to go to the 
University." 

" Labor omnia vincit," cried out Gar. " You have heard us 
stumbling over our Latin often enough, mamma, to know what 
that means. Frank will need to count the cost, too, if he is ever to 
make himself into a barrister ; and he says he will be one." 

" Oh, you two vain boys ! " cried Jane, laughing. 

" Mamma," spoke up Janey from the sofa— and her breathing was 
laboured now — " is there harm in their wishing this? " 

" Not at all. They are laudable aims. Only Frank and Gar are 
so poor and friendless that I fear the hopes are too ambitious to end 
in anything but disappointment." 

Janey called Gar to her, and pulled his face down to a level with 
hers, whispering softly, " Strive well, Gar, and trust in God." 



THE END, 



183 



Later, when Jane had to be out on an indispensable errand, 
Dobbs came in to sit with Janey. She brought her some jelly in 
a saucer. 

" I am nearly tired of it, Dobbs," said Janey. " I grow tired of 
everything. And I don't like to say so, because it seems so un- 
grateful." 

" It's the nature of illness to get tired of things," responded 
Dobbs, who thought it was her mission never to cease buoying 
Janey up with hope. "You'll be better when the hot weather 
comes in." 

"No, I shan't, Dobbs. I shall never get better now." 

A combination of feelings, indignation predominating, nearly 
took away Dobbs's breath. " Who on earth has been putting that 
grim notion in your head? " asked she. 

" It is true, Dobbs." 

"True!" ejaculated Dobbs. "Who has been saying it to you* 
I want to know that." 
" Mamma for one. She " 

"Of all the stupids!" burst forth Dobbs, drowning what Janey 
was about to say. " To frighten the child by telling her she's 
going to die ! " 

" It does not frighten me, Dobbs. I like to lie and think of it." 

Dobbs fell into a doubt whether Janey was in her senses. " Like 
to lie and think of being screwed down in a coffin, and put into the 
cold ground, and left there till the judgment day ! " uttered she. 

" Oh, but, Dobbs, you must know better than that," returned 
Jane. " We are not put into the coffin; it is only our bodies 
that are put into the coffin : we go into the world of departed 
spirits." 

"De-par-ted what?" ejaculated Dobbs, whose notions of the 
future — the life after this life — were not very definite; and who 
could not have been more astonished had Jane begun to talk to her 
in Greek. 

" Mamma has always tried to explain these things to us," said 
Jane. " She has made them as clear to us as they can be made, 
and she has taught us not to fear death. She says a great mistake 
is often made by those who bring up children. They are taught 
to run away from death as something gloomy and frightful, instead 
of being shown its bright side." 

"Well, I never heard the like!" exclaimed Dobbs, lost in 
wonder. " How can there be a bright side to death? — in a horrid 
coffin, with brass nails and tin tacks that screw you down ? " 

Tears filled Janey's eyes. " Oh, Dobbs, you must learn better 
than that, or how will you ever be reconciled to death? Don't 
you know that when we die, we — our spirit, that is, for it is our 
spirit that lives and thinks — leave our body behind us ? There's 
no more consciousness in our body, and it is put into the grave till 
the last day. It is like the shell that the silkworm casts away when 
it comes into the moth : the life is in the moth : not in the cast-off 



1 84 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



shell. You cannot think what trouble mamma has taken with us 
always to explain these things ; and she has talked to me so much 
lately." 

" And where does the spirit go — by which, I suppose, you mean 
the soul?" asked Dobbs. 

Janey shook her head, to express her ignorance at the best. 
" It is all a mystery," she said ; " but mamma has taught us to 
believe that there's a place for the departed, and that we shall be 
there. It is not to be supposed that the soul, a thing of life, could 
be boxed up in a coffin, Dobbs. When Jesus Christ said to the 
thief on the cross, 'To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise,' he 
meant that world. It is a place of light and rest." 

" And the good and bad are there together ? " 

Again Janey shook her head. " Don't you remember, in the 
parable of the rich man and the beggar, there was a great gulf 
between them, and Abraham said that it could not be passed ? I 
dare say it will be very peaceful and happy there : quite different 
from this world, where there's so much trouble and sickness. Why 
should I be afraid of death, Dobbs?" 

Dobbs sat looking at her, and was some minutes before she 
spoke. " Not afraid to die ! " she slowly said. " Well, I should 
be." 

Janey's eyes were wet. " Nobody need be afraid to die when 
they have learnt to trust in God. Don't you know," she answered 
with something like enthusiasm, " that many people, when dying, 
have seen Jesus waiting for them ? What does it matter, then, 
where our bodies are put ? We are going to be with Jesus. Indeed, 
Dobbs, there's nothing sad in dying, if you can only look at it the 
right way. It is those who look at it in the wrong way that are 
afraid to die." 

"The child's as learned as a minister ! " was Dobbs's inward com- 
ment. " Ours told us last Sunday evening at chapel that we were 
all on the high road to perdition. I'd rather listen to her creed 
than to his : it sounds more encouraging. Their ma hasn't brought 
'em up amiss ; and that's the truth ! " 

The soliloquy was interrupted by the return of Mrs. Halliburton. 
Almost immediately afterwards some visitors came in — Mary Ashley 
and Anna Lynn. It was the first time Mary had been there. She 
had come to bring Janey some more books. She was one of those 
graceful children whom it is pleasant to look at. A contrast in 
attire she presented to the little Quakeress, with her silk dress, her 
straw hat, trimmed with a wreath of flowers and white ribbons, 
her dark curls falling beneath it. She was much younger than 
her brother Henry ; but there was a great resemblance between 
them — in the refined features, the bright complexion, and the 
soft, dark eyes. Somehow, through a remark made by Dobbs, the 
conversation turned upon Jane's inability to recover ; and Mary 
Ashley heard with extreme wonder that death was not dreaded. 
" Her ma has taught her different," was Dobbs's comment. 



THE -END. 



185 



" Mamma takes great pains with us," observed Mary ; " but I 
should not like to die. How is it?" she added, turning to Mrs. 
Halliburton. " Jane is not much older than I, and yet she does not 
dread it ! " 

" My dear," was the reply, " I think it is simply this. Those 
whom God is intending to take from the world, He often, in His 
mercy and wisdom, weans from the love of it. You are healthy 
and strong, and the world is pleasant to you. Jane has been so 
long weak and ill, that she no longer finds enjoyment in it ; and this 
naturally causes her to look beyond this world to the rest and 
peace of the next. All things are well ordered." 

Mary Ashley began to think they must be. Chattering Anna, vain 
Anna, sat gazing at Mary's pretty hat, her drooping curls; none, 
except Anna herself, knew with what envious longing. Anna, at any 
rate, was not tired of the world. 

The end grew nearer and nearer. There came a day when Jane 
did not get up ; there came a second, and a third. On the fourth 
morning, Janey, who had passed a comfortable night, compared 
with some nights which had preceded it, was sitting up in bed 
when her brothers came in from school. They hurried over their 
breakfast, and ran up to her, carrying the remains of it in their hands. 

The first few minutes after breakfast had always been devoted by 
Jane to reading to her children ; in spite of her necessity for close 
working, they were so devoted still. " I will read here this morning," 
she observed, as the boys stood around the bed. 

"Mamma," interrupted Janey, "read about the holy city, in the 
Book of Revelation." 

Mrs. Halliburton turned to the twenty- first chapter, and had read 
to the twenty-third verse — " And the city had no need of the sun, 
neither of the moon, to shine in it : for the glory of God did lighten 
it, and the Lamb is the light thereof " — when Jane suddenly started 
forward in bed, her eyes fixed on some opposite point. Mrs. Halli- 
burton paused, and endeavoured to put her gently back again. 

" Oh, mamma, don't keep me ! " she said in a strangely thrilling 
tone ; " don't keep me ! I see the light ! I see papa ! " 

There was a strange light, not as of earth, in her own face, an 
ineffable smile on her lip, that told more of heaven. Her arms 
dropped ; and she sank back on the pillow. Jane Halliburton had 
gone to her Heavenly Father; it may be also to her earthly one. 
Gar screamed. 

Dobbs arrived in the midst of the commotion. And when Dobbs 
saw what had happened, she fell into a storm of anger, of passionate 
sobs, half ready to knock down Mrs. Halliburton with words, and 
the poor boys with blows. Why was she not called to see the last 
of her ? The only young thing she had cared for in all the world, 
and yet she could not be allowed to wish her farewell ! She'd never 
love another again, as long as her days lasted ! In vain they strove 
to explain to her that it was sudden, unexpected, momentary : Dobbs 
would not listen. 



186 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Mrs. Halliburton stole away from Dobbs's storm — anywhere. Her 
heart was brimful. Although she had known that this must be the 
ending, now that it had come she was as one unprepared. In her 
grief and sorrow, she was tempted for a moment — but only for a 
moment — to question the goodness and wisdom of God. 

Some one called to her from the foot of the stairs, and she went 
down. She had to go down ; she could not shut herself up, as those 
can who have servants to be their deputies. Anna Lynn stood there, 
dressed for school. 

" Friend Jane Halliburton, Patience has sent me to ask after 
Janey this morning. Is she better? " 

" No, Anna. She is dead." 

Jane spoke with unnatural calmness. The child, scared at the 
words, backed away out at the garden door, and then flew to Patience 
with the news. It brought Patience in. Jane was nearly prostrate 
then. 

" Nay, but thee art grieving sadly ! Thee must not take on so." 

" Oh, Patience ! why should it be ? " she wailed aloud in her 
despair and bereavement. " Anna left in health and joyousness ; my 
child taken ! Surely God is dealing hardly with me." 

" Thee must not say that," returned Patience gravely. " But thee 
art not thyself just now. What truth was it that I heard thee im- 
press upon thy child not a week ago ? That God's ways are not as 
our ways." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A WEDDING IN HONEY FAIR. 

But that such contrasts are all too common in life, you might think 
it scarcely seemly to go direct from a house of death to a house ot 
marriage. This same morning which witnessed the death of Jane 
Halliburton, witnessed also the wedding of Mary Ann Cross and Ben 
Tyrrett. Upon which there was wonderful rejoicing at the Crosses' 
house. 

Of course, whether a wedding was a good one or a bad one 
(speaking from a pecuniary point of view), it was equally the custom 
to feast over it in Honey Fair. Benjamin Tyrrett was only what is 
called a jobber in the glove trade, earning fifteen or sixteen shillings 
a week; but Mary Ann Cross made up her mind to have him — in 
defiance of parental and other admonitions that she ought to look 
over Ben's head. They had gone to work Honey Fair fashion, 
preparing nothing. Every shilling that Mary Ann Cross could 
spare went in finery — had long gone in finery. In vain Charlotte 
East impressed upon her the necessity of saving : of waiting. Mary 
Ann would do neither one nor the other. 

" All that you can spare from back debts, and from present actual 



A WEDDING IN HONEY FAIR. 



187 



wants, you should put by," Charlotte had urged. " You don't know 
how many more calls there are for money after marriage than before 
it." 

"There'll be two of us to earn it then," logically replied Mary 
Ann. : 

"And two of you to live," said Charlotte. "To marry upon 
nothing is to rush into trouble." 

" How you do go on, Charlotte East ! He'll earn his wages, and 
I shall earn mine. Where'll be the trouble ? I shan't want to spend 
so much upon my back when I am married." 

" To marry as you are going to do,- must bring trouble," persisted 
Charlotte. " He will manage to get together a few bits of cheap 
furniture, just what you can't do without, to put into one room ; and 
there you will be set up, neither of you having one sixpence laid 
by to fall back upon ; and perhaps the furniture unpaid, hanging 
like a log upon you. What shall you do when children come, Mary 
Ann?" 

Mary Ann Cross giggled. "If ever I heard the like of you, Char- 
lotte ! If children do come, they must come, that's all. We can't 
send 'em back again." 

" No, you can't," said Charlotte. " They generally arrive in pretty 
good troops : and sometimes there's little to welcome them on. Half 
the quarrels between man and wife, in our class of life, spring from 
nothing but large families and small means. Their tempers get 
soured with each other, and never get pleased again." 

" Folks must take their chance, Charlotte." 

" There's no must in it. You are nineteen, Ben Tyrrett's twenty- 
three ; suppose you made up your minds to wait two or three years. 
You would be quite young enough then : and meanwhile, if both 
of you laid by, you would have something in hand to meet extra 
expenses, or sickness, if it came." 

" Opinions differs," shortly returned Mary Ann. " If folks tell 
true, you were putting by ever so long for your marriage, and it all 
ended in smoke. I'd rather make sure of a husband when I can get 
him." 

An expression of pain crossed the face of Charlotte East. 
" Whether I marry or not," she answered calmly, " I shall be 
none the worse for having laid money by, instead of squandering 
it. If the best man that ever was born came to me, I would not 
marry him, if we had made no better provision for a rainy day 
than you and Tyrrett have. What can come of such unions, 
Mary Ann?" 

" It's the way that most of us girls do marry," returned Mary 
Ann. 

"And what comes of it, I ask? Blows sometimes, Mary Ann ; 
the workhouse sometimes ; trouble always." 
" Is it true that you put by, Charlotte ? " 
" Yes. I put by what I can." 

" But how in wonder do you manage it ? You dress as well as 



188 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



we do. I'm sure our backs take all our money; father pretty nigh 
keeps the house." 

" I dress better than you, in one sense, Mary Ann. I don't have 
on a silk gown one day, and a petticoat in rags the next. No one 
ever sees me otherwise than neat and clean, and my clothes keep 
good a long while. It's the finery that runs away with your money. 
I am not ashamed to make a bonnet last two years ; you'd have two 
in a season. Another thing, Mary Ann : I do not waste my time — 
I sit to my work ; and I dare say I earn double what you do." 

" Let us hear what you earned last week, if it isn't impertinent," 
was Mary Ann's answer. 

" Ten and ninepence." 

" Look at that ! " cried the girl, lifting her hands. " I brought out 
but five and twopence, and I left no money for silk, and am in debt 
two quarterns. 'Melia was worse. Hers came to four and eleven. 
That surly old foreman says to me when he was paying, ' What d'ye 
leave for silk, Mary Ann Cross ? There's two quarterns down.' ' 1 
know there is, sir,' says I, 4 but I don't leave nothing to-day.' He 
gave a grunt at that, the old file did." 

"And I suppose you spent your five shillings in some useless 
thing?" 

" I had to pay up at Bankes's, and the rest went in a new peach 
bonnet-ribbon." 

" Peach ! You should have bought white, if you must be 
married." 

" Thank you, Charlotte ! What next ? Do you suppose I'm going 
to be married in that shabby old straw, that I've worn all the spring? 
Not if I know it." 

" Where's your money to come from for a new one ? There will 
be other things wanted, more essential than a bonnet." 

" I'll have a new one, if I go in trust for it," returned Mary Ann. 
" Tyrrett buys the ring. And it is of no use for you to preach, 
Charlotte ; if you preach your tongue out, it'll do no good." 

Charlotte might, indeed, have preached a very long sermon, before 
she would effect any change in the system of improvidence obtain- 
ing in Honey Fair. Neither Benjamin Tyrrett nor Mary Ann 
Cross was gifted with forethought, and they took no pains to acquire 
it. 

The marriage was carried out, and this was the happy day. Mrs/ 
Cross gave an entertainment in honour of the event, at which the 
bride and bridegroom assisted — as the French say — with as many 
others as the kitchen would hold. Tea for the ladies, pipes and ale 
for the gentlemen, supper for all, with spirits-and-water handed 
round. 

How Mrs. Cross had contrived to go on so long without an expose, 
she scarcely knew herself. The wonder was, that she had gone on 
at all. It took the energies of her life to patch up her embarrass- 
ments, and hide her difficulties from her husband. The evil day, 
however, was only delayed. It could not be averted, 



( m ) 



CHAPTER IX. 

AN EXPLOSION FOR MRS. CROSS. 

The evil day, hinted at in the last chapter, was not long in coming. 
It might not have fallen quite so soon, but for a misfortune which 
overtook Jacob Cross. The manufacturer for whom he worked died 
suddenly, and the business was immediately given up— the made 
gloves being bought up by a London house, and the stock in trade, 
leather, machines, etc., sold by auction. He had been a first-class 
manufacturer, doing nearly as large a business as Mr. Ashley ; and 
not only Jacob Cross, but many more men in Honey Fair were 
thrown out of work — one of whom was Andrew Brumm ; another, 
Timothy Carter. This happened only a few months after Mary Ann 
Cross's marriage. 

It struck terror to the heart of Mrs. Cross. Though she had paid 
some of her debts, she had incurred others : indeed, the very fact of 
her having to pay, had caused her to incur fresh ones. Her position 
was ominous. She and Amelia had worked for this same manufac- 
turer, now dead, and of course they were at a standstill. Mary Ann 
Tyrrett had likewise worked for him ; but she had left the paternal 
home ; and with her we have nothing just now to do. The position 
of others was ominous, as well as that of Mrs. Cross. It was the 
autumn season, and trade was flat. Winter orders had gone in, and 
there was no necessity to hurry those for the spring ; so that the 
hands thrown out of work, both men and women, stood every chance 
of remaining out. 

A gloom overspread Honey Fair. In many a household the articles 
least needed, went, week after week, to the pawnbrokers, without 
being redeemed on the Saturday night, as in more prosperous times. 
Upon the proceeds the families had to exist. It was bad enough for 
those who were free from debt ; but for those already labouring under 
it — above all, labouring under secret debt — it was something not to 
be told. Mrs. Cross had nightmare regularly every night. Visions 
would come over her now and again of running away, if she had only 
known where to run to. The men would stand or sit at their doors 
all day, with pipes in their mouths : money was sure to be found for 
tobacco, by hook or by crook. There they would lounge in gloomy 
silence, varied by an occasional wordy war with their wives, who 
wished them anywhere else ; or they and their pipes would saunter 
up and down the road, forming into groups, to condole with each 
other and to abuse the glove trade. 

One Monday afternoon there was a small assemblage in the kitchen 
of Jacob Cross — himself, Andrew Brumm, and Timothy Carter. 
Brumm and Carter were, in one sense, more fortunate than Cross ; 
inasmuch as that their respective wives worked each for another 



i 9 o MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



house, not the one which h? v I closed ; therefore they retained their 
employment. The fact, however, appeared to afford little consolation 
to the two men, for they were keeping up a chorus of grumbling, 
when Joe Fisher staggered in — if you have not forgotten him. 

Fisher had hitherto managed, to the intense surprise of every 
one, to keep out of the workhouse. He would be taken on for a 
job of work now and then ; but manufacturers were chary of em- 
ploying Joe Fisher. For one thing, he gave way to drink. A dis- 
reputable-looking object had he become : a tattered coat and waist- 
coat, pantaloons in rags, and not the ghost of a shirt. People 
wondered how he found money for drink. 

"Who'll give us house-room?" was his salutation, as he pushed 
himself in, his eyes haggard, his legs unsteady, his face thin from 
incipient famine. " Will nobody give us a corner to lie in ? " 

The men took their pipes from their mouths. " Turned out at 
last, Joe?" 

"Turned out," replied Joe. "And my missis close upon her 
down-lying." 

Mrs. Cross, who was at the back of the kitchen, washing out her 
potato saucepan, of which frugal edible, seasoned with salt, the 
family dinner had consisted, put in her word. 

" You couldn't expect nothing else, Joe Fisher. There you have 
been, in them folks' furnished room, paying nothing, and paying 
nothing, and you drinking everlasting. They have threatened you 
long enough. Last week, you know, they took a vow you should 
go this." 

" Where's the wife and little 'uns? " asked meek Timothy Carter. 

" You can look at 'em," responded Fisher. " They're not a hun- 
dred miles off. They bain't out of view." 

He gave a flourish of his hand towards the road, and the men 
and Mrs. Cross crowded to the door to reconnoitre. In the middle 
of the lane, crouched down in its mud, for the weather had been 
bad, and it was very wet under foot, was untidy Sukey Fisher — a 
woman all skin and bone now, her face hopeless and desperate. 
She wore no cap, and her matted hair fell on to her gown — such 
a gown! all tatters and dirt. Several young children huddled 
around her. 

" Untidy creature ! " muttered Mrs. Cross to herself. " She is as 
fond of a drop as her lazy, quarrelsome husband ; and this is what 
they have brought it to, between 'em ! Them poor little objects of 
young 'uns 'ud be as well dead as alive." 

" Look at 'em ! " began Fisher. " And they call this a free 
country ! They call it a country as is a pattern to others, and a 
refuge for the needy. Why don't Government, that opened our 
ports to them foreign French, and keeps 'em open, come down and 
take a look at my wife squatting there? — turned out of our room, 
without a place to put our heads into ! " 

" If you hadn't put quite as much inside your head, Joe Fisher, 
and been doing of it for years, you might have had more for the 



AN EXPLOSION FOR MRS. CROSS. 191 

outside on't now," again spoke Mrs. Cross in her sharp tones. The 
woman was not a naturally sharp one, as were some in Honey- 
Fair; but the miserable fear she lived in, added to their present 
privations, told upon her temper. 

" Hold your magging," said Joe Fisher. " I never like to quarrel 
with petticuts, one's own belongings excepted. All as I say, Mother 
Cross, is, don't you mag." 

Mrs. Cross made no reply to this, and Fisher resumed. 

" This comes of letting the Government and the masters have 
their own way ! If we had that there strike among us, that I've so 
often told ye on, things would be different. Let a man sit down a 
minute, Cross." 

Cross civilly pushed a chair towards him, concentrating his atten- 
tion afterwards upon Mrs. Fisher. A crowd had collected round her ; 
and Mrs. Buffle, with a feeling of humanity that few had given that 
lady credit for possessing, sent out an old woollen shawl to the 
shivering woman, and a basin of hasty pudding. The mother could 
not feed the whining children fast enough with the one iron spoon. 

A young man ran up to Cross's door. It was Adam Thorney- 
croft. He did not live in Honey Fair, but often found his way to 
it, although Charlotte had rejected him. "Is Joe Fisher here?" 
asked he. " Fisher, why don't you go to the workhouse and tell 
them the state your wife is in? She can't stop there." 

" Her state is no concern of your'n, Master Thorneycroft," was 
the sullen answer. 

Thorneycroft turned on his heel, a scornful gesture escaping him 
at Fisher's half-stupid condition. " I must be off to my work," he 
observed ; " but can't one of you, who are gentlemen at large, just 
go to the workhouse and acquaint them with the woman's helpless- 
ness, and that of her children around her?" 

Timothy Carter responded to it. " I'll go," said he; "I haven't 
nothing to do with myself this afternoon." 

Timothy and Adam walked away together, Tim treading with 
gingerly feet past his own door, lest his wife should recognise his 
step, bolt out, and stop him. Charlotte East was standing at her 
door, and Adam halted. Timothy walked on : he did not feel him- 
self perfectly safe yet. 

" What a life that poor woman's is ! " exclaimed Charlotte. 

" Ay," assented Adam ; " and all through Fisher's not sticking to 
his work." 

Charlotte moved her face gravely towards him. " Say, through 
his drinking, Adam." 

"Do you speak that as a warning, Charlotte?" he continued. 
" I think you mean well by me, but you go just the wrong way to 
show it. If you wanted me to keep steady, you should have come 
and helped me in it. Good-bye. I am late." 

" Gentlemen at large, young Thorney called us!" cried Jacob 
Cross to his friend Brumm, as Fisher went off, and they sat down 
again. " He's not far out. What's to be the end on't ? " 



192 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Why, the work'us," responded Mrs. Cross, who rarely let an 
opportunity slip of putting in her own opinion. " The wurk'us for 
us, as well as for the Fishers, unless things take a turn. When 
great, big, able-bodied men is throwed out o' work, and yet has 
to eat and drink, and other folks at home has to eat and drink, 
and nothing to stay their stomachs upon, the work'us can't be far 
off." 

" Never for me! " said Andrew Brumm. " I'll work to keep me 
and mine out on it, if it is at breaking stones upon the road. I 
know one thing — if ever I do get into certain work again, I'll make 
my missis be a bit providenter than she was before." 

" Bell Brumm ain't one of the provident sort," dissented Mrs. 
Cross. " How do you manage to get along at all, Drew, these bad 
times? You don't seem to get into trouble." 

" Well, we manage somehow," replied Andrew. " But we have 
to pinch. My missis sticks at her work, now I be out on't. She 
hardly looks off it ; and I does the house, and sees to the children. 
Nine shilling, all but her silk, she earned last week. And, finding 
that we can exist on that, after a fashion, has set me thinking that 
when my good wages was added to it, we ought to have put by 
for a rainy day," he continued, after a pause. " Just let me get the 
chance again ! " 

" It's surprising the miracles wages works when folks ain't earn- 
ing none ! " put in Mrs. Cross, in a tone of irony, who did not 
altogether like the turn the conversation was taking. " When you 
get into work again, Drew Brumm, your wife won't be more able to 
save than the rest of us." 

"But she shall," returned Andrew. "And she sees for herself 
now that it might be done." 

" I was a-making a calkelation yesterday how long we might 
hold out on our household things," observed Jacob Cross — a silent 
man, in general. "If none of us can get work, they'll have to go, 
piecemeal. One can't clam ; one must live upon something." 

" I'm resolved upon one point — that I won't have no underhand 
debt again," resumed Brumm. " Last spring I found out the flaring 
trade my missis was carrying on with them Bankes's — and the 
way I come to know of it was funny : but never mind that. ' Bell,' 
says I to her, * I'd rather sell off all I've got and go tramping the 
country, than I'd live with a sword over my head' — which debt is. 
And I went down to Bankes's and said to 'em, * If you let my wife 
get into debt again, I won't pay it, as I now give you notice, and 
I'll have you up before the justices for a pest.' I thought I'd make 
it strong, you see, Cross. And I paid off their bill, so much a week, 
and got shut of 'em. Them Bankes's does more mischief in Honey 
Fair than everything else put together." 

" Why, what do Bankes's do ? " asked Jacob, in happy ignorance. 

" Do ! " returned Brumm. " Don't you know " 

But at that critical moment, Mrs. Cross, in bustling behind 
Andrew Brumm's chair, which was on the tilt, contrived to get her 



AN EXPLOSION FOR MRS. CROSS. 



193 



foot entangled in it. Brumm, his chair, and his pipe, all came 
down together. 

" Mercy on us ! " uttered Jacob Cross, coming to the rescue. 
" How did you manage that, Brumm?" 

Before Brumm could answer, or had well gathered himself up, 
there was another visitor — Mr. Abbott, the landlord of at least a 
third of Honey Fair. He had come on his usual Monday's errand. 
Jacob Cross put down his pipe and touched his hat, which, in the 
manners of Honey Fair, was worn indoors. It was not often that 
the landlord and the men came into contact with each other. 

" Are you ready for me, Mrs. Cross? " 

" We are not ready to-day, sir," interposed Jacob. " You must 
please to give us a little grace these hard times, sir. The moment 
I be in work again, I'll think of you, before I think of ourselves." 

" I have given all the grace I can give," replied Mr. Abbott, a 
hard, surly man. " You must either pay, or turn out : I don't care 
which." 

" I'll pay you as soon as I am in work, sir; you may count upon 
it. As to turning out, sir, where could I turn to ? You'd not let 
me take out my furniture, and we can't sit down in the street, as 
Fisher's wife is doing." 

Mr. Abbott turned to the door. When he came back, a man was 
with him. " I must trouble you to give this man house-room for a 
few days. As you won't go out, he must stop in, to see that your 
goods stop in." 

Cross's spirit rose within him. " It's a hard way to treat a man, 
sir ! I have lived under you for years, and you have had your rent 
regular." 

" Regular ! " exclaimed the landlord. " I have had more trouble 
to get it from your wife, since Bankes's came to Helstonleigh, than 
from anybody else in Honey Fair." . 

Cross did not understand this. He was too much absorbed by 
the point in question to ask an explanation. " There's only three 
weeks owing to you, sir, and " 

" Three weeks ! " interrupted Mr. Abbott ; " there are nine weeks 
Owing to me. Nine weeks to-day." 

Jacob Cross stood confounded. " Who says there's nine weeks? " 
asked he. 

" I say so. Your wife can say so. Ask her." 

But Mrs. Cross, with a scared face and white lips, whisked 
through the door, and hurried down Honey Fair. The explosion 
had come. 

Mr. Abbott, wasting no more words, departed, leaving the un- 
welcome visitor behind him. Andrew Brumm came in again from 
outside, where he had stood, out of delicacy, feeling thankful that 
his rent was all right. It was pinching work ; but Andrew was 
beginning to learn that debt pinches the mind, more than hunger 
pinches the body. 

" Comrade," whispered he, grasping Cross's hand, "it's all along 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 13 



194 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



of them Bankes's. The women buy their fal-lals and their finery, 
and the weekly payments to 'em must be kept up, whether or no, 
for fear Bankes's should let out on't to us, and ask us for the money. 
Of course the rent and other things gets behind. Half the women 
round us are knee-deep in Bankes's books." 

" Why couldn't you have told me this before ? " demanded Cross, 
in his astonishment. 

" It's not my province to interfere with other men's wives," was 
Brumm's sensible answer. 

" Where's she got to ? " cried Jacob, looking round for his wife. 
" I'll come to the bottom of this. Nine weeks' rent owing ; and her 
salving me up that it was only three ! " 

Jacob might well say, "Where's she got to?" Mrs. Cross had 
glided down Honey Fair, into the first friendly door that happened 
to be open. That was Mrs. Carter's. " For mercy's sake, let's stop 
here a minute, Elizabeth Carter ! " exclaimed she. " We have got 
the bums in I " 

Mrs. Carter was rubbing up some brass candlesticks. Work ran 
short with her that week, and therefore she spent it in cleaning, 
which was her notion of taking holiday ; scrubbing and scouring 
from morning till night. She turned round and stared at Mrs. 
Cross, who, with white face and gasping breath, had sunk down 
upon a chair. 

" What on earth's the matter ? " 

"Abbott has brought it out to my husband that I owes nine 
weeks' rent, and he's telling him about Bankes's, and now he has 
gone and put a bum into the house ! " 

" More soft you, to have had to do with Bankes's ! " was the sym- 
pathy offered by Mrs. Carter. " You couldn't expect nothing less." 

" That old skinflint, Abbott " 

Mrs. Cross stopped short. She opened the staircase door about 
an inch, and humbly twisted herself through the aperture. Who 
should be standing there to hear her, having followed her in, but 
Mr. Abbott himself. 

He had no need to say, " Ready, Mrs. Carter ? " Mrs. Carter 
always was ready. She paid him weekly, and asked no favour. 
The payment made, he departed again, and Mrs. Cross emerged 
from her retreat. 

" You can pay him ! " she exclaimed, with some envy. " And 
Timothy's out o' work, too; and you be slack. How do you 
manage it ? " 

" I'm not a fool," was the logical response of Mrs. Carter. " If 
I spent my earnings when they are coming in regular, or let Tim 
keep his to his own cheek, where should we be, in a time like this ? 
I have my understanding about me." 

Mrs. Carter did not praise her understanding without cause. 
Whatever social virtues she may have lacked, she was rich in thrift, 
in forethought. Had Timothy remained out of work for a twelve- 
month, they would not have been put to shifts. 



AN EXPLOSION FOR MRS. CROSS. 195 



" I'm afraid to go back ! " cried Mrs. Cross. 

"So should I be, if I got myself into your mess." 

The offered sympathy not being consolatory to her present frame 
of mind, Mrs. Cross departed. Home, at present, she dared not go. 
She went about Honey Fair, seeking the gossiping pity which 
Elizabeth Carter had declined to give, but which she was yearning 
for. Thus she spent an hour or two. 

Meanwhile the news had been spreading through Honey Fair, 
" Crosses had the bums in ; " and Mary Ann, hearing it, flew home 
to know whether it was correct. She — partly through fear, partly 
in the security from paternal correction, which was imparted to 
her by the feeling that she was Mary Ann Tyrrett, and no longer 
Mary Ann Cross — yielded to her father's questions, and made full 
confession. Debts here, debts there, debts everywhere. Cross was 
overwhelmed; and when his wife at length came in, he quietly 
knocked her down. 

The broker advanced to the rescue. "If you dare to come 
between man and wife," raved Cross, lifting his arm menacingly, 
" I'll serve you the same." He was a quiet-tempered man, but this 
business had terribly exasperated him. " You'll come to die in the 
work'us," he uttered to his wife. "And serve you right! It's your 
doings that have broke up our home." 

" No," retorted she passionately, as she lifted herself from the 
floor ; " it's your squanderings in the publics o' nights, that have 
helped to break up our home." 

It was a little of both. 

The quarrel was interrupted by a commotion outside, and Mrs. 
Cross darted out to look — glad, perhaps, to escape from her hus- 
band's anger. An official from the workhouse had come down with 
an order for the admission of Susan Fisher instanter. Timothy 
Carter, in his meek and humane spirit, had so enlarged upon the 
state of affairs in general, touching Mrs. Fisher, that the workhouse 
bestirred itself. An officer was despatched to marshal them into it 
at once. The uproar was caused by her resistance : she was still 
sitting in the road. 

" I won't go into the work'us," she screamed ; " I won't go there 
to be parted from my children and my husband. If I'm to die, I'll 
die out here." 

" Just get up and march, and don't let's have no row," said the 
officer. " Else I'll fetch a wheel-barrer, and wheel ye to it." 

She resisted, shrieking and flinging her arms and her wild hair 
about her, as only a foolish woman would do ; the children, alarmed, 
clung to her and cried, and all Honey Fair came out to look. Mr. 
Joe Fisher also staggered up, in a state not to be described. He 
had been invited by some friend, more sympathizing than judicious, 
to solace his troubles with strong waters ; and down he fell in the 
mud, helpless. 

" Well, here's a pretty kettle of fish ! " cried the perplexed work- 
house man. "A nice pair ; they are! How I am to get 'em both 



196 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



there, is beyond me ! She can walk, if she's forced to it ; but he* 
can't ! They spend their money in sotting, and when they have no 
more to spend, they come to us to keep 'em ! I must get an open 
cart." 

The cart was procured somewhere, and brought to the scene, a 
policeman in attendance ; and the children were lifted into it, one 
by one. Next the man was thrown in, like a clod ; and then came 
the woman's turn. With much struggling and kicking, with shrieks 
that might have been heard a mile off, she was at length hoisted 
into it. But she tumbled out again : raving that " no work'us 
shouldn't hold her." The official raved in turn; and Honey Fair 
hugged itself. It had not had the gratification of so exciting a scene 
for many a day ; to say nothing of the satisfaction it derived from 
hearing the workhouse set at defiance. 

The official and the policeman at length conquered. She was 
secured, and the cart started at a snail's pace with its load — Mrs. 
Fisher setting up a prolonged and dismal lamentation, not unlike 
an Irish howl ; and Honey Fair, in its curiosity, following the cart 
as its train. 



CHAPTER X. 

A SHILLING IN THE WASTE-PAPER BASKET. 

"WHOSE shilling is this on my desk?" inquired Mr. Ashley of 
Samuel Lynn, one morning towards the close of the summer. 

" I cannot tell thee," was the reply of the Quaker. " I know 
nothing of it." 

" It is none of mine, to my knowledge," remarked Mr. Ashley. 

" What shilling is that on the master's desk ? " repeated Samuel 
Lynn to William when he returned into his own room, where 
William was. 

" I put a shilling on the desk this morning," replied William. " I 
found it in the waste-paper basket." 

" Thee go in, then, and tell the master." 

William did so. " The shilling rolled out of the waste-paper 
basket, sir," said he, entering the counting-house, and approaching 
Mr. Ashley. 

Mr. Ashley was remarkably exact in his accounts. He had missed 
no shilling, and he did not think it was his. " What should bring 
a shilling in the waste-paper basket?" he asked. "It may have 
rolled out of your own pocket." 

William could have smiled at the remark. A shilling out of his 
pocket ! " Oh, no, sir, it did not." 

Mr. Ashley sat looking earnestly at William — as the latter 
fancied. In reality he was buried deep in his own thoughts. But 
William felt uncomfortable under the survey, and his face flushed 



A SHILLING IN THE WASTE-PAPER BASKET. 197 



to a glow. Why should he feel uncomfortable? What should 
cause the flush ? 

This. Since Janey's death, some months ago now, their circum- 
stances had been more straitened than ever ; of course, there had 
been expenses attending it, and Mrs. Halliburton was paying them 
off weekly. Bread and potatoes, and a little milk, would often be 
their food. On the previous night, Jane had a sick headache. 
Some tea would have been acceptable, but she had neither tea 
nor money in the house ; and she was firm in her resolution not 
to purchase on trust. On this morning early, when William rose, 
he found his mother down before him, at her work as usual. Her 
head felt better, she said ; it might get quite well if she had only 
some tea ; but she had not, and — there was an end of it. William 
went out, ardently wishing (in the vague profitless manner that 
he might have wished for Aladdin's lamp) that he had only a 
shilling to procure some for her. When, half an hour after, this 
shilling rolled out of the waste-paper basket, as he was shaking it 
in Mr. Ashley's counting-house, a strong temptation — not to take 
it, but to wish that he might take it, that it was not wrong to take 
it — rushed over him. He put it down on the desk, and turned 
from it — turned from the temptation, for the shilling seemed to 
scorch his fingers. The remembrance of this wish — it sounded to 
him like a dishonest one— had brought the vivid colour to his face, 
under what he thought was Mr. Ashley's scrutiny. That gentleman 
observed it. 

" What are you turning red for ? " 

This crowned all. William's face changed to scarlet. 

Mr. Ashley was surprised. He came to the conclusion that some 
mystery must be connected with the shilling — something wrong. 
He determined to fathom it. "Why do you look confused?" he 
resumed. 

"It was only at my own thoughts, sir." 

" What are they ? Let me hear them." 

William hesitated. " I would rather not tell them, sir." 

"But I would rather you did." Mr. Ashley spoke quietly, as 
usual ; but there lay command in the quietest tone of Mr. Ashley's. 

Implicit obedience had been enjoined upon the Halliburtons 
from their earliest childhood. In that manufactory Mr. Ashley 
was William's master, and he believed he had no resource but to 
comply with his desire. William was of a remarkably ingenuous 
nature ; and if he had to impart a thing, he did not do it by halves, 
although it might tell against himself. 

" When I found that shilling this morning, sir, the thought came 
over me to wish it was mine — to wish that I might take it without 
doing ill. The thought did not come over me to take it? he added, 
raising his truthful eyes to Mr. Ashley's, " only to wish that it was 
not wrong to do so. When you looked at me so earnestly, sir, I 
fancied you could see what my thoughts had been. And they were 
not honourable thoughts," 



198 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Did you ever take money that was not yours?" asked Mr. 
Ashley, after a pause. 

William looked surprised. " No, sir, never." 

Mr. Ashley paused again. " I have known children help them- 
selves to halfpence and pence, and think it little crime." 

The boy shook his head. "We have been taught better than 
that, sir. And, besides the crime, money taken in that way would 
bring us no good, only trouble. It could not prosper." 
I " Tell me why you think that." 

" My mother has always taught us that a bad action can never 
prosper in the end." 

" I suppose you coveted the shilling for marbles ; or for sweet- 
meats? " 

" Oh no, sir. It was not for myself that I wished it." 
" Then for whom? For what?" 

This caused William's face to flush again. Mr. Ashley questioned 
till he drew from him the particulars — how that he had wished to 
buy some tea, and why he had wished it. 

" I have heard," remarked Mr. Ashley, after listening, " that you 
have many privations to put up with." 

" It is true, sir. But we don't so much care for them, if we only 
can put up with them. My mother says she knows better days will 
be in store for us, if we only bear on patiently. I am sure we boys 
ought to do so, if she can. It is worse for her than for us." 

There ensued another searching question from Mr. Ashley. 
" Have you ever, when alone in the egg-house, amidst its thousands 
of eggs, been tempted to pocket a few to carry home? " 

For one moment William suffered a flash of resentment to cross 
his countenance. The next his eyes filled with tears. He felt 
deeply hurt. 

" No, sir, I have not. I hope you do not fear that I am capable 
of it?" 

" No, I do not," said Mr. Ashley. " Your father was a clergyman, 
I think I have heard?" 

" He was intended for a clergyman, sir, but he did not get to the 
University. His father was a clergyman — a rector in Devonshire, 
and my mother's father was a clergyman in London. My uncle 
Francis is also a clergyman, but only a curate. We are gentle- 
people, though we are poor. We would not take eggs or anything 
else." 

Mr. Ashley suppressed a smile. " I conclude that you and your 
brothers live in hope some time of regaining your position in life?" 

" Yes, sir. I think it is that hope that makes us put up with hard 
things so well." 

"What do you think of being?" 

William's countenance fell. " There is not so much chance of 
my getting on, sir, as there is for my brothers. Frank and Gar are 
hopeful enough ; but I don't look forward to anything good for me. 
My mother says if I only help her I shall be doing my duty." 



A SHILLING IN THE WASTE-PAPER BASKET. 199 



" Your sister died in a decline," remarked Mr. Ashley. " These 
home privations must have told upon her." 

William's face brightened. " She had everything she wanted, 
sir; everything, even to port wine. Mrs. Reece and Dobbs took a 
liking to her when they first came, and they never let her want for 
anything. Mamma says that Jane's wants having been supplied in 
so extraordinary a manner, ought to teach us how certainly God is 
looking over us and taking care of us — that all things, when they 
come to be absolutely needed, will no doubt be supplied to us, as 
they were to her." 

"What a perfect trust in God that boy seems to have?" mused 
Mr. Ashley, when he dismissed William. " Mrs. Halliburton must 
be a mother in a thousand. And he will make a man in a thousand, 
unless I am mistaken. Truthful, open, candid — /don't know a boy 
like him ! " 

About five minutes before the great bell was rung at one o'clock, 
William was called into the counting-house. " I have been casting 
up my cash and find I am a shilling short," observed Mr. Ashley, 
" therefore the shilling that you found is no doubt the missing one. 
I shall give it to you," he continued : " a reward for telling me the 
straightforward truth when I questioned you." 

William took the shilling — as he supposed. " Here are two ! " he 
exclaimed, in his surprise. 

" You cannot buy much tea with one ; and that is what you 
were thinking of. Would you like to be apprenticed to me?" Mr. 
Ashley resumed, drowning the boy's thanks. 

The question took William by storm : he was at a loss what to 
answer. He would have been equally at a loss had he been accorded 
a whole week to deliberate upon it. He looked foolish, and said he 
could not tell. 

" Would you like the business ? " pursued Mr. Ashley. 

" I like the business very well, sir, now I'm used to it. But I 
could not hope ever to get on to be a master." 

" There's no knowing what you may get on to be, if you are steady 
and persevering. Masters don't begin at the top of the tree; they 
begin at the bottom and work up to it. At least, that is the case 
with a great many. In becoming an apprentice you would occupy 
a better position in the manufactory than you do now." 

"Joe Stubbs is an apprentice, is he not, sir?" 

" I will explain it to you, if you do not understand," said Mr. 
Ashley. " Joe Stubbs is apprenticed to one branch of the business, 
the cutting; John Braithwait is an apprentice to the staining, and 
so on. These lads expect to remain workmen all their lives, work- 
ing at their own peculiar branch. You would not be apprenticed 
to any one branch, but to the whole, with a view to becoming here- 
after a manager or a master ; in the same manner that I might 
apprentice my son, were he intended for the business." < 

William thought he should like this. Suddenly his countenance 
fell. 



2oo MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"What now?" asked Mr. Ashley. 

" I have heard, sir, that the apprentices do not earn wages at 
first. I — I am afraid we could not well do at home without mine." 

" You need not concern yourself with what you hear, or with 
what others earn or don't earn. I should give you eight shillings 
a-week, instead of four, and you would retain your evenings for 
study, as you do now. I do not see any different or better opening 
for you," continued Mr. Ashley ; " but should any arise hereafter, 
through your mother's relatives, or from any other channel, I 
would not stand in the way of your advancement, but would 
consent to cancel your indentures. Do you understand what I 
have been saying?" 

" Yes, sir, I do. Thank you very much." 

"You can speak to Mrs. Halliburton about it, and hear what her 
wishes may be," concluded Mr. Ashley. 

The result was, that William was apprenticed to Mr. Ashley. 
" I can tell thee, thee hast found favour with the master," remarked 
Samuel Lynn to William. " He has made thee his apprentice, 
and has admitted thee, I hear, to the companionship of his son. 
They are proofs that he judges well of thee. Pay thee attention to 
deserve it." 

It was quite true that William was admitted to the occasional 
companionship of Henry Ashley. Henry had taken a fancy to him, 
and would get him there to help him stumble through his Latin. 

The next to be apprenticed to Mr. Ashley, and almost at the 
same time, was Cyril Dare. But when he found that he was to be 
the fellow-apprentice of William Halliburton, the two on a level 
in every respect, wages excepted — and of wages Master Cyril was 
at first to earn none — he was most indignant, and complained 
explosively to his father. " Can't you speak to Mr. Ashley, sir?" 

" Where would be the use?" asked Mr. Dare. "There's not a 
man in Helstonleigh would brook interference in his affairs less 
than Thomas Ashley. If one of the two apprentices must leave, 
because they are too much for each other's company, it would be 
you, Cyril, rely upon it." 

Cyril growled ; but, as Mr. Dare said, there was no help for it. 
And he and William had to get on together in the best way they 
could. Cyril had thought that he should be the only gentleman- 
apprentice at Mr. Ashley's. There was a marked distinction 
observed in a manufactory between the common apprentices, who 
did the rough work, and what were called the gentlemen-appren- 
tices. It did not please Cyril that William should have been made 
one of the latter. 



( 201 ) 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE SCHOOLBOYS' NOTES. 

As the time went on, Jane's brain grew very busy. Its care was 
the education of her boys — a perplexing theme. So far as the 
classics went, they were progressing. Frank and Gar certainly 
were not pushed on as they might have been, for Helstonleigh 
collegiate school was not at that time renowned for its pushing 
qualities ; but the boys had a spur in themselves. Jane never 
ceased to urge them to attention, to strive after self-progress ; not 
by the harsh reproaches some children have to hear, but by loving 
encouragement and gentle persuasion. She would call up pleasant 
pictures of the future, when they should have surmounted the 
difficulties of toil, and be reaping their reward. It had ever been 
her custom to treat her children as friends; as friends and com- 
panions, more than as children. I am not sure that it is not a good 
plan in all cases, but it undoubtedly is so where children are 
naturally well disposed and intelligent. Even when they were little, 
she would converse and reason with them, so far as their under- 
standings would permit. The primary thing she inculcated was the 
habit of unquestioning obedience. This secured in their earliest 
childhood, she could afford to reason with them as they grew older ; 
to appeal to their own sense of intelligence ; to show them how to 
form and exercise a right judgment. Had the children been wilful, 
deceitful, or opposed to her, her plan must have been different; 
compulsion must have taken the place of reasoning. When they 
did anything wrong — all children will, or they are not children — 
she would take the offender to her alone. There would be no 
scolding ; but in a grave, calm, loving voice she would say, " Was 
this right? Did you forget that you were doing wrong and would 
grieve me? Did you forget that you were offending God?" And 
so she would talk ; and teach them to do right in all things, for 
the sake of right, for the sake of doing their duty to Heaven and to 
man. These lessons, from a mother loved as Jane was, could not 
fail to take root and bear seed. The young Halliburtons were in 
fair training to make not only<£Ood, but admirable men. 

Jane inculcated another valuable lesson. In all perplexity, trouble, 
or untoward misfortune, she taught them to look it full in the face; 
not to fly from it, as is the too-common custom, but to meet it 
and do the best with it. She knew that in trouble, as in terror, 
looking it in the face takes away half its sting : and so she was 
teaching them to look, not only by precept, but by example. With 
such minds, such training to work upon, there was little need to 
urge them to apply closely to their studies ; they saw its necessity 
themselves, and acted upon it. " It is your only chance, my 



202 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



darlings, of getting on in life," she would say. " You wish to 
be good and great men ; and I think perhaps you may be, if you 
persevere. It is a tempting thing, I know, to leave wearying tasks 
for play or idleness ; but do not yield to it. Look to the future. 
When you feel tired, out of sorts, as if Latin were the greatest 
grievance upon earth, say to yourselves, 6 It is my duty to keep on, 
and my duty I must do. If I turn idle now, my past application 
will be lost ; but, if I persevere, I may go bravely on to the end.* 
Be brave, darlings, for my sake." 

And the boys were so. Thus it would happen that when the 
rest of the school were talking, or idling, or being caned, the 
Halliburtons were at work. The head master could not fail to 
observe their steady application ; and he more than once held 
them up as an example to the school. 

So far, so good. But though the classics are essential parts of 
a good education, they do not include all its requisites. And 
nothing else was taught in the college school. There certainly 
was a writing-master, and something like an initiation into the 
first rules of arithmetic was attempted ; but not a boy in the 
charity school, hard by, that could not have shamed the college 
boys in adding up a column of figures or in writing a page. As to 

their English You should have seen them attempt to write a 

letter. In short, the college school ignored everything except 
Latin and Greek. 

This state of affairs gave Jane great concern. " Unless I can 
organize some plan, my boys will grow up dunces," she said to 
herself. And a plan she did organize. None could remedy this 
so well as herself ; she, so thoroughly educated in all essential 
branches. It would take two hours from her work, but for the 
sake of her boys she would sacrifice that. Every night, therefore, 
except Saturday, as soon as they had prepared their lessons for 
school — and in doing that they were helped by William — she left 
her work, and became their instructor. History, geography, 
astronomy, composition, and so on. You can fill up the list. 

And she had her reward. The boys advanced rapidly. As the 
months and quarters went on, it was only so much the more 
instruction gained by them. 

I think you must be indulged with a glance at one of these 
college school notes. But, first of all, suppose we read one written 
by Frank. 

"Dear Glenn, — Thanks for wishing me to join your fishing 
expedition the day after to-morrow, but I can't come. My mother 
says, as I had holiday from college one day last week, it will not 
do to ask for it again. You told me to send word this evening 
whether or not, so I drop you this note. I should like to go, and 
shall be thinking of you all day. Mind you let me have a look at 
the fish you bring home. Yours, 

"Frank Halliburton." 



THE SCHOOLBOYS' NOTES. 



203 



The note was addressed " Glenn senior," and Gar was ordered 
to deliver it at Glenn senior's house. Glenn senior, who was a king's 
scholar, not a chorister, made a wry face over it when delivered, 
and sat down, on the spur of the moment, to answer it : 

"Deer Haliburton, — Its all stut about not asking for leve 
again what do the musty old prebens care who gets leve therell be 
enuff to sing without you tell your mother I cant excuse you from 
our party theirs 8 of us going and a stunning baxket of progg as 
good go out for a day's fishing has stop at home on a holiday for 
the benefit of that preshous colledge bring me word you'll come 
to-morrow at skool for we want to arange our plans yours old fellow 

" P Glenn." 

Master P. Glenn was concluding his note when his father passed 
through the room, and glanced over the boy's shoulder. He 
(Mr. Glenn) was a surgeon ; one of the chief surgeons attached to 
the Helstonleigh infirmary, and in excellent practice. " At your 
exercise, Philip?" 

" No, papa. I am writing a note to one of our fellows. I want 
him to be of our fishing party on Wednesday." 

" Wednesday ! Have you a holiday on Wednesday ? " 

" Yes. Don't you know it will be a saint's day?" 

" Not I," said Mr. Glenn. " Saints' days don't concern me, as 
they do you college boys. That's a pretty specimen of English ! " 
he added, running his amused eyes over Philip's note. 

"Are there any mistakes in it?" returned Philip. "But it's no 
matter, papa. We don't profess to write English in the college 
school." 

" It is well you don't profess it," remarked Mr. Glenn. " But 
how is it your friend Halliburton can turn out good English?" 
He had taken up Frank's letter. 

"Oh! they are such chaps for learning, the two Halliburtons. 
They stick at it like a horse-leech — never getting the cane for 
turned lessons. They have school at home in the evenings for 
English, and history, and such stuff that they don't get at college." 

" Have they a tutor? " 

"They are not rich enough for a tutor. Mrs. Halliburton's the 
tutor. What do you think Gar Halliburton did the other day? 
Keating was having a row with the fourth desk, and he gave them 
some extra verses to do. Up goes Gar Halliburton, before he 
had been a minute at his seat. ' If you please, sir,' says he to 
Keating. ' I had better have another piece.' i Why so ? ' asks 
Keating, because,' says Gar, 'I did these same verses with 
my brother at home a week ago.' He meant his eldest brother; 
not Frank. But, now, was not that honourable, papa?" 

" Yes, it was," answered Mr. Glenn. 

" That's just the Halliburtons all over. They are ultra-honour- 
able." 



20| MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" I should like to see your friend Frank, and inquire how he 
manages to pick up his English." 

" Let me bring him to tea to-morrow night?" cried Philip eagerly. 
" You may, if you like." 

"Hurrah!" shouted Philip. "And you'll persuade him not to 
mind his mother, but to come to our fishing party?" 
"Philip!" 

" Well, papa, I don't mean that, exactly. But I do not see the 
use of boys listening to their mothers just in everything." 

Philip Glenn seized his note, and added a postscript : — " My 
father sais you are to come to tea to-morrow we shall be so joly." 
And it was despatched to Frank by a servant in livery. 



CHAPTER XII. 

A LESSON FOR PHILIP GLENN. 

Frank was as eager to accept the invitation as Philip had been to 
offer it. When the afternoon arrived, and school was over, Frank 
tore home, donned his best clothes, and then tore back again to 
Mr. Glenn's house. Philip received him in the small room, where 
he and his brother prepared their lessons. 

" How is it that you and my boys write English so differently?" 
inquired Mr. Glenn, when he had made Frank's acquaintance. 

Frank broke into a broad smile, suggested by the remembrance 
of Philip's English. " We study it at home, sir." 

But some one teaches you?" 

" Mamma. She was afraid that we should grow up ignorant 
of everything except Latin and Greek; so she thought she would 
remedy the evil." 

" And she takes you in an evening?" 

"Yes, sir; every evening except Saturday, when she is sure to be 
busy. She comes to the table as soon as our lessons for school are 
prepared, and we commence English. The easier portions of 
our Latin and Greek we do in the day, I and Gar : we crib the time 
from play-hours ; and my brother William helps us at night with 
the more difficult parts." 

"Where is your brother at school?" asked Mr. Glenn. 

"He is not at school, sir. He is at Mr. Ashley's, with Cyril Dare. 
William has not been to school since papa died. But he was well 
up in everything, for papa had taken great pains with him, and 
he has gone on by himself since." 

" Can he do much good by himself?" 

" Good ! " echoed Frank, speaking bluntly, in his eagerness ; " I 
don't think you could find so good a scholar for his age. There's 
not one could come near him in the college school. At first he 
found it hard work. He had no one to explain difficult points for 



A LESSON FOR PHILIP GLENN* 



-him> and was obliged to puzzle them out with his own brains. And 
it's that that has got him on." 

Mr. Glenn nodded. "Where a good foundation has been laid, a 
hard-working boy may get on better without a master than with 
one, provided " 

" That is just what William says," interrupted Frank, his dark 
eyes sparkling with animation. "He would have given anything 
at one time to be at the college school with us ; but he does not 
care about it now." 

" Provided his heart is in his work, I was about to add," said Mr. 
Glenn, smiling at Frank's eagerness. 

" Oh, of course, sir. And that's what William's is. He has 
such capital books, too — all the best that are published. They 
were papa's. I hardly know how I and Gar should get on, without 
William's help." 

" Does he help you?" 

"He has helped us ever since papa died; before we went to 
college, and since. We do algebra and Euclid with him." 

" In — deed ! " exclaimed Mr. Glenn, looking hard at Frank. 
" When do you contrive to do all this?" 

"In the evening. Tea is over by half-past five, and we three 
— William, I, and Gar — turn at once to our lessons. In about two 
hours mamma joins us, and we work with her about two hours 
more. Of course we have different nights for different studies, 
Latin every night, Greek nearly every night, Euclid twice a week, 
algebra twice a week, and so on. And the lessons we do with 
mamma are portioned out ; some one night, some another." 

" You must be very persevering boys," cried Mr. Glenn. " Do 
you never catch yourselves looking off to play; to talk and laugh?" 

" No, sir, never. We have got into the habit of sticking to our 
lessons ; mamma brought us into it. And then, we are anxious to 
get on : half the battle lies in that." 

" I think it does. Philip, my boy, here's a lesson for you, and for 
all other lazy scapegraces." 

Philip shrugged his shoulders, with a laugh. " Papa, I don't see 
any good in working so hard." 

" Your friend Frank does." 

" We are obliged to work, sir," said Frank candidly. " We have 
no money, and it is only by education that we can hope to get on. 
Mamma thinks it may turn out all for the best. She says that boys 
who expect money very often rely upon it and not upon themselves. 
She would rather turn us out into the world with our talents culti- 
vated and a will to use them, than with a fortune apiece. There's 
not a parable in the Bible mamma is fonder of reading to us than 
that of the ten talents." 

"No fortune ! " repeated Mr. Glenn in a dreamy tone. 

" Not a penny ; mamma has to work to keep us," returned Frank, 
making the avowal as freely as though he had proclaimed that his 
mother was lady-in-waiting to the Queen, and he one of her state 



2o6 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



pages. Jane had contrived to convince them that in poverty itself 
there lay no shame or stigma ; but a great deal in paltry attempts 
to conceal it. 

" Frank," said Mr. Glenn, " I was thinking that you must possess 
a fortune in your mother." 

" And so we do ! " said Frank. " When Philip's note came to me 
last night, and we were — were " 

" Laughing over it ! " suggested Mr. Glenn, helping out Frank's 
hesitation, and laughing himself. 

" Yes, that's it ; only I did not like to say it," acknowledged 
Frank. " But I dare say you know, sir, how most of the college 
boys write. Mamma said then, how glad we ought to be that she 
can make time to teach us better, and that we have the resolution 
to persevere." 

" I wish your mother would admit my sons to her class," said 
Mr. Glenn, half-seriously, half-jokingly. " I would give her any 
recompense." 

" Shall I ask her?" cried Frank. 

" Perhaps she would feel hurt? " 

" Oh no, she wouldn't," answered Frank impulsively. " I will 
ask her." 

" I should not like such a strict mother," avowed Philip Glenn. 
" Strict ! " echoed Frank. " Mamma's not strict." 
" She must be. She says you shan't come fishing with Us to- 
morrow." 

" No, she did not. She said she wished me not to go, and thought 
I had better not, and then she left it to me." 

Philip Glenn stared. " You told me at school this morning that 
it was decided you were not to come. And now you say Mrs. 
Halliburton left it to you." 

" So she did," answered Frank. " She generally leaves these things 
to us. She shows us what we ought to do, and why it is right that 
we should do it, and then she leaves it to what she calls our own 
good sense. It is like putting us upon our honour." 

" And you do as you know she wishes you would do ? " interposed 
Mr. Glenn. 

" Yes, sir, always." 

" Suppose you were to take your own will for once against hers?" 
cried Philip in a cross tone. " What then? " 

" Then I dare say she would decide herself the next time, and 
tell us we were not to be trusted. But there's no fear. We know 
her wishes are sure to be right ; and we would not vex her for the 
world. The last time the dean was here there was a fuss about 
the choristers getting holiday so often ; and he forbade its being 
done." 

" But the dean's away," impatiently interrupted Philip Glenn. 
" Old Ripton is in residence, and he would give it you for the asking. 
He knows nothing about the dean's order." 

" That's the very reason," returned Frank. " Mamma put it to 



A LESSON FOR PHILIP GLENN. 207 



me whether it would be an honourable thing to do. She said, if 
Dr. Ripton had known of the dean's order, then I might have 
asked him, and he could do as he pleased. She makes us wish to 
do what is right — not only what appears so." 

" And you'll punish yourself, by going without the holiday, for 
some rubbishing notion of 6 doing right ! ' It's just nonsense, Frank 
Halliburton." 

" Of course we have to punish ourselves sometimes," acknow- 
ledged Frank. " I shall be wishing all day long to-morrow that I 
was with you. But when evening comes, and the day's over, then 
I shall be glad to have done right. Mamma says, if we do not 
learn to act rightly and self-reliantly as boys, we shall not do so as 
men." 

Mr. Glenn laid his hand on Frank's shoulder. " Inculcate your 
creed upon my sons, if you can," said he, speaking seriously. " Has 
your mother taught it to you long ? " 

" She has always been teaching it to us ; ever since we were 
little," rejoined Frank. " If we had to begin now, I don't know that 
we should make much of it." 

Mr. Glenn fell into a reverie. As Mr. Ashley had once judged 
by some words dropped by William, so Mr. Glenn was judging 
now — that Mrs. Halliburton must be a mother in a thousand. 
Frank turned to Philip. 

" Have you done your lessons ? " 

" Done my lessons ! No. Have you ? " 

Frank laughed. " Yes, or I should not have come. I have not 
played a minute to-day — but cribbed the time. Scanning, and 
exercise, and Greek ; I have done them all." 

" It seems to me that you and your brothers make friends of your 
lessons, while most boys make enemies," observed Mr. Glenn. 

" Yes, that's true," said Frank. 

" Philip," said Mr. Glenn to his son that evening after Frank had 
departed, " I give you carte blanche to bring that boy here as much 
as you like. If you are wise, you will make a lasting friend of 
him." 

" I like the Halliburtons," replied Philip. " The college school 
doesn't, though." 
" And pray, why ? " 

"Well, I think Dare senior first set the school against them — 
that's Cyril, you know, papa. He was always going on at them. 
They were snobs for sticking to their lessons, he said, which gentle- 
men never did ; and they were snobs because they had no money 
to spend, which gentlemen always had ; and they were snobs for 
this, and snobs for the other; and he got his desk, which ruled the 
school, to cut them. They had to put up with a good deal then, 
but they are bigger now, and can fight their way ; and, since Dare 
senior left, the school has begun to like them. If they are poor, 
they can't help it," concluded Philip, as if he would apologize for 
the fact. 



2o3 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"Poor!" retorted Mr. Glenn. "I can tell you, Master Philip, 
and the college school too, that they are rich in things that you 
want. Unless I am deceived, the Halliburtons will grow up to be 
men of no common order." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

MAKING PROGRESS. 

Trifles, as we all know, lead to great events. When Frank Halli- 
burton had gone home, in his usual flying, eager manner, plunging 
headlong into the subject of Mr. Glenn's request, and Jane con- 
sented to grant it, she little thought that it would lead to a consider- 
able increase to her income, enabling them to procure several com- 
forts, and rendering better private instruction than her own, easy 
for her sons. 

Not that she yielded to the request at once. She took time for 
consideration. But Frank was urgent ; and she was one of those 
ever ready to do a good turn for others. The Glenns, as Frank 
said, did write English wretchedly ; and if she could help to improve 
them, without losing time or money, neither of which she could 
afford, why not do so ? And she consented. 

It certainly did occur to Mrs. Halliburton to wonder that Mr. 
Glenn had not provided private instruction for his sons, to remedy 
the deficiencies existing in the college school system. Mr. Glenn 
suddenly awoke to the same wonder himself. The fact was, that 
he, like many other gentlemen in Helstonleigh, who had sons in 
the college school, had been content to let things take their chance : 
possibly, he assumed that spelling and composition would come to 
his sons by intuition, as they grew older. The contrast Frank 
Halliburton presented to Philip aroused him from his neglect. 

Jane consented to allow the two young Glenns to share the time 
and instruction she gave to her own boys. Mr. Glenn received the 
favour gladly ; but, at first, there was great battling with the young 
gentlemen themselves. They could not be made to complete their 
lessons for school, so as to be at Mrs. Halliburton's by the hour 
appointed. At length it was accomplished, and they took to going 
regularly. 

Before three months had elapsed, great improvement had become 
visible in their spelling. They were also acquiring an insight into 
English grammar ; had learnt that America was not situated in the 
Mediterranean, or watered by the Nile ; and that English history 
did not solely consist of two incidents — the beheading of King 
Charles, and the Gunpowder Plot. Improvement was also visible 
in their manners and in the bent of their minds. From being 
boisterous, self-willed, and careless, they became more considerate, 
more tractable ; and Mr. Glenn actually once heard Philip decline 



MAKING PROGRESS. 



209 



to embark in some tempting scrape, because it would "not be 
right." > 

For it was impossible for Jane to have lads near her, and not 
gently try to counteract their faults and failings, as she would have 
done by her own sons ; while the remarkable consideration and 
deference paid by the young Halliburtons to their mother, their 
warm affection for her, and the pleasant peace, the refinement of 
tone and manner distinguishing their home, told upon Philip and 
Charles Glenn with good influence. At the end of three months, 
Mr. Glenn wrote a note of warm thanks to Mrs. Halliburton, ex- 
pressing a hope that she would still allow his sons the privilege of 
joining her own, and, in a delicate manner, begging grace for his 
act, enclosed four guineas ; which was payment at the rate of six- 
teen guineas a year for the two. 

Jane had not expected it. Nothing had been hinted to her about 
payment, and she did not expect to receive any : she did not 
understand that the boys had joined on those terms. It was very 
welcome. In writing back to Mr. Glenn, she stated that she had 
not expected to receive remuneration ; but she spoke of her strait- 
ened circumstances, and thanked him for the help it would be. 

" That comes from a gentlewoman," was his remark to his wife, 
when he read the note. " I should like to know her." 

" I hinted as much to Frank one day, but he said his mother was 
too much occupied to receive visits or to pay them," was Mrs. 
Glenn's reply. 

As it happened, however, Mr. Glenn did pay her a visit. A 
friend of his, whose boys were in the college school, struck with 
the improvement in the Glenns, and hearing of its source, wondered 
whether his boys might not be received on the same terms, and Mr. 
Glenn undertook to propose it. The result of all this was, that in 
six months from the time of that afternoon when Frank first took 
tea at Mr. Glenn's, Jane had ten evening pupils, college boys. 
There she stopped. Others applied, but her table would not hold 
more, nor could she do justice to a greater number. The ten 
would bring her in eighty guineas a year ; she devoted to them two 
hours, five evenings in the week. 

Now she could command somewhat better food, and more liberal 
instruction for her own boys, William included, in those higher 
branches of knowledge which they could not, or had not, com- 
menced for themselves. A learned professor, David Byrne, whose 
lodgings were in the London Road, was applied to, and he agreed 
to receive the young Halliburtons at a very moderate charge, three 
evenings in the week. 

" Mamma," cried William, one day, with his thoughtful smile, 
soon after this agreement was entered upon, "we seem to be 
getting on amazingly. We can learn something else now, if you 
have no objection." 

" What is that? " asked Jane. 

"French. As I and Samuel Lynn were walking home to-day, 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 14 



2io MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



we met Monsieur Colin. He said he was about to organize a 
French class, twelve in number, and would be glad if we would 
make three of the number. What do you say?" 

" It is a great temptation," answered Jane. " I have long wished 
you could learn French. Would it be very expensive?" 

" Very cheap to us. He said he considered you a sister pro- 
fessor " 

" The idea ! " burst forth Frank, hotly. " Mamma a professor !" 

" Indeed, I don't know that I can aspire to anything so for- 
midable," said Jane, with a laugh. " A schoolmistress would be 
a better word." 

Frank was indignant. " You are not a schoolmistress, mamma. 
I " 

" Frank," interrupted Jane, her tone changing to seriousness, 

" What, mamma?" 

" I am thankful to be one." 

The tears rose to Frank's eyes. " You are a lady, mamma. I 
shall never think you anything else. There ! " 

Jane smiled. "Well, I hope I am, Frank; although I help to 
make gloves, and teach boys English." 

" How well Mr. Lynn speaks French ! " exclaimed William, 

" Does he speak it?" 

"As a native. I cannot tell what his accent may be, but he 
speaks it as readily as Monsieur Colin. Shall we learn, mamma? 
It will be the greatest advantage to us, Monsieur Colin conversing 
with us in French." 

" But what about the time, William ? " 

" Oh, if you will manage the money, we will manage the time, 
returned William, laughing. " Only trust to us, mother. We will 
make it, and neglect nothing." 

" Then, William, you may tell Monsieur Colin that you shall 
learn." 

" Fair and easy ! " broke out Frank ; a saying of his when pleased. 
" Mamma, I think, what with one thing and another turning up, 
we boys shall be getting quite first-class education." 

"Although mamma feared we never should accomplish it," 
returned William. " As did I." 

" Fear ! " cried Frank. " / didn't. I knew that 1 where there's 
a will there's a way.' Degeneres animos timor arguit™ added he, 
finishing off with one of his favourite Latin quotations ; but for- 
getting, in his flourish, that he was paying a poor compliment to 
his mother and his brother. 



( 211 ) 



CHAPTER XIV. 

WILLIAM HALLIBURTON'S GHOST. 

This chapter may be said to commence the second part ot this 
history, for some years have elapsed since the events last recorded. 

Do you doubt that the self-denying patience displayed by Jane 
Halliburton, her persevering struggles, her never-fainting industry, 
joined to her all-perfect trust in the goodness and guidance of the 
Most High God, could fail to bring their reward? It is not possible. 
But do not fancy that it came suddenly in the shape of a coach- 
and-six. Rewards, worth having, are not acquired so easily. Have 
you met with the following lines? They are somewhat applicable. 

"How rarely, friend, a good, great man inherits 
Honour and wealth, with all his worth and pains ! 
It seems a fable from the land of spirits 
When any man obtains that which he merits, 
Or any merits that which he obtains. 
For shame, my friend ! renounce this idle strain : 
What would'st thou have the good, great man obtain — 
Wealth? title? dignity? a golden chain? 
Or heaps of corpses which his sword hath slain ? 
Goodness and greatness are not means, but ends. 
Hath he not always treasures, always friends, 
The good, great man ? Three treasures — 
Love ; and life ; and calm thoughts, equable as infant's breath. 
And three fast friends, more sure than day or night, 
Himself ; his Maker ; and the angel, Death." 

Jane's reward was in progress : it had not fully come. At present 
it was little more than that of an approving conscience for having 
fought her way through difficulties in the patient continuance of 
well-doing, and in the fulfilment, in a remarkable manner, of the 
subject she had had most at heart — that of giving her sons an 
education that would fit them to fulfil any part they might be called 
upon to play in the destinies of life — in watching them grow up full 
of promise to make good and great men. 

In circumstances, Jane was tolerably at ease now. Time had 
wrought its changes. Mrs. Reece had gone — not into other 
lodgings, but to join Janey Halliburton on the long journey. And 
Dobbs — Dobbs ! — was servant to Mrs. Halliburton ! Dobbs had 
experienced misfortune. Dobbs had put by a good round sum 
in a bank, for Dobbs had been provident all her life ; and the bank 
broke, and swallowed up Dobbs's savings; and nearly all Dobbs's 
surly independence went with it. Misfortunes do not come alone ; 
and Mrs. Reece died almost immediately after Dobbs's treacherous 
bank went. The old lady's will had been good to leave Dobbs 
something, but she had not the power to do so : the income she had 



212 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



enjoyed went, at her death, to her late husband's relatives. She had 
made Dobbs handsome presents from time to time, and these Dobbs 
had placed with the rest of her money. It had all gone. 

Poor Dobbs, good for nothing in the first shock of the loss, paid 
Mrs. Halliburton for a bedroom weekly, and sat down to fret. 
Next, she tried to earn a living at making gloves — an employ- 
ment Dobbs had followed in her early days. But, what with not 
being so young as she was, neither eyes nor fingers, Dobbs found 
she could make nothing of the work. She went about the house 
doing odd tasks for Mrs. Halliburton, until that lady ventured on 
a proposal (with as much deference as though she had been making 
it to an Indian Begum), that Dobbs should remain with her as her 
servant. An experienced, thoroughly good servant she required 
now ; and that she knew Dobbs to be. Dobbs acquiesced ; and 
forthwith went upstairs, moved her things into the dark closet, 
and obstinately adopted it as her own bedroom. 

The death of Mrs. Reece had enabled Jane to put into practice - 
a plan she had long thought of — that of receiving boarders into her 
house, after the manner of the dames at Eton. Some of the foun- 
dation boys in the college school lived at a distance, and it was a 
great matter with the parents to place them in families where they 
would mid a good home. The wife of the head master, Mrs. 
Keating, took in half-a-dozen ; Jane thought she might do the same. 
She had been asked to do so ; but had not room while Mrs. Reece 
was with her. She still held her class in the evening. As one set 
of boys finished with her, others were only too glad to take their 
places: there was no teaching like Mrs. Halliburton's. Upon 
making it known that she could receive boarders, applications 
poured in ; and six, all she had accommodation for, came. They, of 
course, attended the college school during the day. Thus she 
could afford to relinquish working at the gloves ; and did so, to 
Samuel Lynn's chagrin: a steady, regular worker, as Jane had 
been, was valuable to the manufactory. Altogether, what with her 
evening class, and the sum paid by the boarders, her income was 
between two and three hundred a year, not including what was 
earned by William. 

William had made progress at Mr. Ashley's, and now earned 
thirty shillings a week. Frank and Gar had not left the college 
school. Frank's time was out, and more than out : but when a 
scholar advanced in the manner that Frank Halliburton had done, 
Mr. Keating was not in a hurry to intimate to him that his time had 
expired. So Frank remained on, studying hard, one of the most 
finished scholars that Helstonleigh Collegiate School had ever 
turned out. 

There sat one great desire in Frank's heart ; it had almost grown 
into a passion ; it coloured his dreams by night and his thoughts by 
day — that of matriculating at one of the two Universities. The 
random and somewhat dim idea of Frank's early days — studying 
for the bar—had become the fixed purpose of his life. That he was 



WILLIAM HALLIBURTON'S GHOST. 213 



especially gifted with the tastes and qualifications necessary to make 
a good pleader, there could be no doubt about ; therefore, Frank 
had probably not mistaken his vocation. Persevering in study, 
keen in perceptive intellect, equable in temper, fluent and persuasive 
in speech, a true type was he of an embryo barrister. He did not 
quite see his way yet to getting to college. Neither did Gar ; and 
Gar had set his mind upon the Church. 

One cold January evening, bright, clear, and frosty, Samuel Lynn 
stopped away from the manufactory. He had received a letter by 
the evening post saying that a friend, on his way from Birmingham 
to Bristol, would halt for a few hours at his house, and go on by 
the Bristol mail, which passed through the city at eleven o'clock. 
The friend arrived punctually, was regaled with tea and other 
good things in the state parlour, and he and Samuel Lynn settled 
themselves to enjoy a pleasant evening together, Patience and Anna 
forming part of the company. Anna's luxuriant curls and her 
wondrous beauty — for, in growing up, that beauty had not belied 
the promise of her childhood — were shaded under the demure 
Quaker's cap. Something else had not belied the promise of her 
childhood, and that was her vanity. 

Apparently, she did not find the evening or the visitor to her 
taste. He was old, as were her father and Patience : every one 
above thirty Anna was apt to class as " old." She fidgeted, was 
restless, and, just as the clock struck seven — as if the sound 
rendered any further inaction unbearable — she rose, and was quietly 
stealing from the room. 

" Where are thee going, Anna?" asked her father. 

Anna coloured, as if taken by surprise. " Friend Jane Halliburton 
promised to lend me a book, father : I should like to fetch it." 

" Sit thee still, child ; thee dost not want to read to-night when 
Friend Stanley is with us. Show him thy drawings. Meanwhile, 
I will get the chessmen. Thee'd like a game?" turning to his 
visitor. 

" Ay, I should," was the ready answer. " Remember, Friend 
Lynn, I beat thee last time." 

" Maybe my skill will redeem itself to-night," nodded the Quaker, 
as he rose for the chessboard. " It shall try its best." 

"Would thee like a candle?" asked Patience, who was busy 
sewing. 

" Not at all. My chamber is light as day, with the moon so near 
the full." 

Mr. Lynn went up to his room. The chessboard and men were 
kept on a table near the window. As he took them from it he 
glanced out at the pleasant scene. His window, at the back, faced 
the charming landscape, and the Malvern hills in the horizon, shone 
out almost as distinctly as by day. Not, however, on the landscape 
were Samuel Lynn's eyes fixed ; they had caught something nearer, 
which drew his attention. 

Pacing the field-path, which ran behind his low garden hedge, 



214 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



was a male figure in a cloak. To see a man, whether in a cloak or 
without it, abroad on a moonlight night, would not have been 
extraordinary; but Samuel Lynn's notice was drawn by this one's 
movements. Beyond the immediate space occupied by the house, 
the field-path was hidden : on one side, by the high hedge inter- 
vening between his garden and Mrs. Halliburton's ; on the other, 
by a wall. The figure — whoever it might be — would come to one 
of these corners, stealthily peep at Samuel Lynn's house and 
windows, and then continue his way past it, until he reached the 
other corner, where he would halt and peep again, partially hiding 
himself behind the hedge. That he was wai;mg for something or 
some one was apparent, for he stamped his feet occasionally in an 
impatient manner. 

u What can it be that he does there?" cried the Quaker, half 
aloud : " this is the second time I have seen him. He cannot be 
taking a sketch of my house by moonlight ! Were it any other 
than thee, William Halliburton, I should say it wore a clandestine 
look." 

He returned to the parlour, and took his revenge on his friend by 
checkmating him three times in succession. At nine o'clock supper 
came in, and at ten Mr. Stanley, accompanied by Samuel Lynn, left, 
to walk leisurely into Helstonleigh and await the Bristol mail. As 
they turned out of the house they saw William Halliburton going 
in at his own door. 

" It is a cold night," William remarked to Mr. Lynn. 

" Very. Good night to thee." 

You cannot see what he is like by this light, especially in that 
disguising cloak, and the cap with its protecting ears. But you can 
see him the following morning, as he stands in Mr. Ashley's counting- 
house. 

A well-grown, upright, noble form, a head taller than Samuel 
Lynn, by whose side he is standing, with a peculiarly attractive 
face. Not for its beauty — the face cannot boast of very much — but 
for its broad brow of intellect, its firm, sweet mouth, and its truthful 
dark-grey eyes. None could mistake William Halliburton for any- 
thing but a gentleman, although they had seen him, as now, with a 
white apron tied round his waist. William was making up gloves : 
a term, as you may remember, which means sorting them according 
to their qualities — work that was sometimes done in Mr. Ashley's 
room, on account of its steady light, for it bore a north aspect. A 
table, or counter, was fixed down one side, under its windows. Mr. 
Lynn stood by his side, looking on. 

" Thee can do it tolerably well, William," he observed, after some 
minutes' close inspection. 

William smiled. The Quaker never bestowed decided praise, 
and never thought any one could be trusted in the making-up 
department, himself and James Meeking excepted. William had 
been exercised in the making-up for the past eighteen months, and 
he thought he ought to do it pretty well by this time. Mr. Lynn 



WILLIAM HALLIBURTON'S GHOST 215 



was turning away, when his keen sight fell on several dozens at a 
little distance. He took up one of the top pairs with a hasty move- 
ment, -knitted his brow, and then took up others. 

" Thee has not exercised thy judgment or thy caution here, friend 
William." 

" I did not make up those/' replied William. 
"Who did, then?" 
" Cyril Dare." 

" I have told Cyril Dare he is not to attempt the making-up," 
returned Samuel Lynn, in a severe tone. " When did he do 
these ? " 

" Yesterday afternoon." 

"There, again! He knows the gloves are not made up in a 
winter's afternoon. I myself would not do it by so obscure a light. 
Thee go over these thyself when thee has finished the stack before 
thee." 

Samuel Lynn was not one who spared work. He mixed the 
offending dozens together indiscriminately, and pushed them to- 
wards William. Then he turned to his own place, and went on 
with his work : he was also making up. Presently he spoke again. 

" What does thee do at the back of my house of a night ? Thee 
must find the walk cold." 

William turned his head with a movement of surprise. " I don't 
do anything at the back of your house. What do you mean ? " 

" Not walk about there, watching it, as thee did last night? " 

" Certainly not ! I do not understand you." 

Samuel Lynn's brows knit heavily. "William, I deemed thee 
truthful. Why deny what is a palpable fact ? " 

William Halliburton put down the pair of gloves he had in his 
hand, and turned to the Quaker. "In saying that I do not walk at 
the back of your house at night, or at the back of any house, I state 
the truth." 

" Last night, at seven o'clock, I saw thee parading there in thy 
cloak. I saw thee, I say, William. The night was unusually light." 

" Last night, from tea-time until half-past nine, I never stirred 
out of my mother's parlour," rejoined William. " I was at my 
books, as usual. At half-past nine I ran up to say a word to Henry 
Ashley. You saw me returning." 

" But I saw thee at the back with my own eyes," persisted the 
Quaker. " I saw thy cloak. Thee had on that blue cap of thine : 
it was tied down over thy ears ; and the collar of the cloak was 
turned up, to protect thee, as I surmised, from the cold." 

"It must have been my ghost," responded William. " Should I 
be likely to pace up and down a cold field, for pastime, on a January 
night?" 

"Will thee oblige me by putting on thy cloak?" was all the 
answer returned by Samuel Lynn. 
"What—now?" 
" Please." 



216 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



William, laughing, went out of the room, and came back in his 
cloak. It was an old-fashioned cloak — a remarkable cloak — a dark 
plaid, its collar lined with red. Formerly worn by gentlemen, they 
had now become nearly obsolete ; but William had picked this up 
for much less than half its value. He did not care much for fashion, 
and it was warm and comfortable in winter weather. 

" Perhaps you wish me to put on my cap ? " said William, in a 
serio-comic tone. 

" Yes ; and turn down the ears." 

He obeyed, very much amused. " Anything more ? " asked he. 
" Walk thyself about an instant." 

His lips smiling, his eyes dancing, William marched from one 
side of the room to the other. While this was in process Cyril 
Dare bustled in, and stood in amazement, staring at William. The 
Quaker paid no attention to his arrival, except that he took out his 
watch and glanced at it. He continued to address William. 

" And thee can assure me, to my face, that thee was not pacing 
the field last night in the moonlight, dressed as now ? " 

" I can, and do," replied William. 

" Then, William, it is one of two things. My eyes or thy word 
must be false." 

" Did you see my face ? " asked William. 

" Not much of that. With the ears down, and the collar up, thy 
face was pretty effectually concealed. There's not another cloak 
like thine in all Helstonleigh." 

" You are right there," laughed William ; " there's not one half so 
handsome. Admire the contrast of the purple and green plaid and 
the scarlet collar." 

" No, not another like it," emphatically repeated the Quaker. 
" I tell thee, William Halliburton, in the teeth of thy denial, that I 
saw thee, or a figure precisely similar to thee, parading the field- 
path last night, and stealthily watching my windows." 

" It's a clear case of ghost," returned William, with an amused 
look at Cyril Dare. How much longer am I to make a walking 
Guy of myself, for your pleasure and Cyril's astonishment ? " 

" Thee can take it off," replied the Quaker, his curt tone betray- 
ing dissatisfaction. Until that moment he had believed William 
Halliburton to be the very quintessence of truth. His belief was 
now shaken. 

In the small passage between Mr. Ashley's room and Samuel 
Lynn's, William hung up the cloak and cap. The Quaker turned 
to Cyril Dare, who was taking off his great-coat, stern displeasure 
in his tone. 

" Dost thee know the time ? " 

" Just gone half-past nine," replied Cyril. 

Mr. Lynn held out his watch to Cyril. It wanted seventeen 
minutes to ten. " Nine o'clock is thy hour. I am tired of tolling 
thee to be more punctual. And thee did not come before breakfast." 

" I overslept myself," said Cyril. 



WILLIAM HALLIBURTON'S GHOST. 217 



"As thee dost pretty often, it seems. If thee can do no better 
than thee did yesterday, as well oversleep thyself for good. Look 
at these gloves." 

" Well ! " cried Cyril, who was a good-looking young man, not far 
short in stature of William. At least he would have been good- 
looking, but for his eyes ; there was a look in them, almost amount- 
ing to a squint ; and they did not gaze openly and honestly into 
another's eyes. His face was thin, and his features were well-formed. 
" Well ! " cried he. 

" It is well," repeated the Quaker ; " well that I looked at them, 
for they must be done again. Firsts are mixed with seconds, thirds 
with firsts ; I do not know that I ever saw gloves so ill made up. 
What have I told thee ? " 

" Lots of things," responded Cyril, who liked to set the manager 
at defiance, as far as he dared. 

" I have desired thee never to attempt to make up the gloves. 
I now forbid thee again ; and thee will do well not to forget it. 
Begin and band these gloves that William Halliburton is making 
ready." 

Cyril jerked open the drawer where the paper bands were kept, 
took some out of it, and carried them to the counter, where William 
stood. Mr. Lynn interposed with another order. 

" Thee will please put thy apron on." 

Now, having to wear this apron was the very bugbear of Cyril 
Dare's life. "There's no need of an apron to paper gloves," he 
responded. 

" Thee will put on thy apron, friend," calmly repeated Samuel 
Lynn. 

" I hate the apron," fumed Cyril, jerking open another drawer, 
and jerking out his apron ; for he might not openly disobey the 
authority of Samuel Lynn. " I should think I am the first gentle- 
man that ever was made to wear one." 

" If thee are practically engaged in a glove manufactory, thee 
must wear an apron, gentleman or no gentleman," equably returned 
the Quaker. " As we all do." 

" All don't ! " retorted Cyril. " The master does not." 

"Thee are not in the master's position yet, Cyril Dare. And I 
would advise thee to exercise thy discretion more, and thy tongue 
less." 

The discussion was interrupted by the entrance of Mr. Ashley, 
and the room dropped into silence. There might be no presuming 
in the presence of the master. He sat down to his desk, and opened 
his morning letters. Presently a young man put his head in, and 
addressed Samuel Lynn. 

" Noaks, the stainer, has come in, sir. He says the skins, given 
out to him yesterday, would be better for coloured than blacks." 

" Desire James Meeking to attend to him," said Mr. Lynn. 

" James Meeking isn't here, sir. He's up in the cutters' room, 
or somewhere." 



218 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Samuel Lynn, upon this, went out himself. Cyril Dare followed 
him. Cyril was rather fond of taking short trips about the manu- 
factory, as interludes to his work. Soon after, the master lifted his 
head. 

. " Step here, William." 

William put down the gloves he was examining, and approached 
the desk. "What sort of a French scholar are you?" inquired Mr. 
Ashley. 

" A very good one, sir," he replied, after a pause given to surprise. 
" I know it thoroughly. I can read and write it as readily as I 
can English." 

" But I mean as to speaking. Could you make yourself under- 
stood, for instance, if you were suddenly dropped down into a French 
town, where the natives spoke nothing but their own language?" 

William smiled. " I don't think I should have much difficulty 
over it. I have been so much with Monsieur Colin that I talk as 
fast as he does. He stops me occasionally to grumble at what he 
calls V accent Anglais P 

" I am not sure that I shall not send ycu on a mission to France," 
resumed Mr. Ashley. " You can be better spared than Samuel 
Lynn ; and it must be one of you. Will you undertake it ? " 

" I will undertake anything that you wish me to do, sir, that I 
could accomplish," replied William, lifting his clear, earnest eyes 
to those of his master. 

" You are an exceedingly good judge of skins : even Samuel Lynn 
admits that. I want some intelligent, trustworthy person to go over 
to France, look about the markets there, and pick up what will suit 
us. The demand for skins is great at the present time, and the 
markets must be watched to select suitable bales, before other 
bidders step in, and pounce upon them. By these means we may 
secure some good bargains and good skins : we have succeeded 
lately in doing neither." 

" At Annonay, I presume you mean, sir." 

"Annonay and its neighbourhood; that's the chief market for 
dressed skins. The undressed pelts are to be met with best, as you 
are aware, in the neighbourhood of Lyons. You would have to 
look after both. I have talked the matter over with Mr. Lynn, and 
he thinks you may be trusted, both as to ability and conduct." 

" I will do my best if I am sent," replied William. 

" Your stay might extend over two or three months. We can do 
with a great deal ; both of pelts and dressed skins. The dressers 
at Annonay Cyril, what are you doing there?" 

Cyril could scarcely have told. He had come into the counting- 
house unnoticed, and his ears had picked up somewhat of the con- 
versation. In his anger and annoyance, Cyril had remained, his 
face turned towards the speakers, listening for more. 

For it had oozed out at Pomeranian Knoll, through a word 
dropped by Henry Ashley, that Mr. Ashley had it in contemplation 
to despatch some one from the manufactory on this mission to 



"NOTHING RISK, NOTHING WIN." 



219 



France, and that the some one would not be Samuel Lynn. Cyril re- 
ceived the information with avidity, never doubting that he would be 
the one fixed upon. To give him his due, he was really a good judge 
of skins — not better than William ; but somehow Cyril had never 
given a thought to William in the matter. Greatly had he antici- 
pated the journey to the land of pleasure, where he would be under 
no one's control but his own. In that moment, when he heard Mr. 
Ashley speak to William upon the subject, not to him, Cyril felt at 
war with every one and everything; with the Master, with William, 
and especially with the business, which he hated as much as he had 
ever done. 

But Mr. Ashley was not one to do things in a hurry, and he had 
only broached the subject. 



CHAPTER XV. 

"nothing risk, nothing win." 

It was Saturday night, the Saturday after the above conversation, 
and Mr. Lynn was making ready to pay the men. James Meeking 
was payer in a general way; but James Meeking was also packer; 
that is, he packed, with assistance, the goods destined for London. 
A parcel was being sent off this evening, so that it fell to Mr. Lynn's 
lot to pay the workmen. He stood before the desk in the serving- 
room, counting out the money in readiness. There was a quantity 
of silver in a bag, and a great many brown paper packets of half- 
pence ; each packet containing five shillings. But they all had to 
be counted, for sometimes a packet would run a penny or twopence 
short. 

The door at the foot of the stairs was heard to open, and a man's 
step came up. It proved to be a workman from a neighbouring 
manufactory. 

"If you please, Mr. Lynn, could you oblige our people with 
twelve or fourteen pounds' worth of change ? " he asked. " We 
couldn't get in enough to-day, try as we would. The halfpence seem 
as scarce as the silver." 

Now it happened that the Ashley manufactory was that evening 
abundantly supplied. Samuel Lynn went into the counting-house 
to the master, who was seated at the desk. " The Dunns have 
sent in to know if we can oblige them with twelve or fourteen 
pounds' worth of change," said he. "We have plenty to-night; 
but to send away so much may run us very short. Dost thee 
happen to have any gold that thee can spare?" 

Mr. Ashley looked at his own cash drawer. " Here are six, seven 
sovereigns." 

"That will be sufficient," replied Samuel Lynn, taking them from 



220 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



his hand, and going back to the applicant in the serving-room* 
" How much has thee need of?" asked he. 

" Fourteen pounds, please, sir. I have the cheque here, made 
out for it. Silver or copper, it doesn't matter which; or a little 
gold. I have brought a basket along with me." 

Mr. Lynn gave the money, and took the cheque. The man de- 
parted, and the Quaker carried the cheque to Mr. Ashley. 

Mr. Ashley put the cheque into one of the pigeon-holes of his 
desk. He had the account in duplicate before him, of the goods 
going off, and was casting it up. William and Cyril were both in 
the counting-house, but not engaged with Mr. Ashley. William 
was marking small figures on certain banded gloves; Cyril was 
looking on, an employment that suited Cyril amazingly. His want 
of occupation caught the Quaker's eye. 

"If thee has nothing to do, thee can come and help me count the 
papers of coppers." 

Cyril dared not say " No," before Mr. Ashley. He might have 
hesitated to say it to Samuel Lynn ; nevertheless, it was a work he 
especially disliked. It is not pleasant to soil the fingers, counting 
innumerable five-shilling brown-paper packets of copper money ; to 
part them into stacks of twelve pence, or twenty-four halfpence. 
In point of fact, it was James Meeking's work ; but there were times 
when Samuel Lynn, William, and Cyril had each to take his turn 
at it. Perhaps the two former liked it no better than did Cyril 
Dare. 

Cyril ungraciously followed to the serving-room. In a few 
minutes James Meeking looked in at the counting-house. "Is the 
master ready?" 

Mr. Ashley rose, and went into the next room, carrying one of 
the duplicate lists. The men were waiting to pack — James Meeking 
and the other packer, a young man named Dance. The several 
papers of boxes were ready on a side counter ; and Mr. Ashley 
stood with the list in his hand, ready to verify them. Had Samuel 
Lynn not been occupied with serving, he would have done this. 

" Three dozen best men's outsizes, coloured," called out James 
Meeking, reading the marks on the first parcel he took up. 

" Right," responded Mr. Ashley. 

James Meeking laid it upon the packing-table — clear, except for 
an enormous sheet of brown paper as thick as card-board — turned 
to the side counter, and took up another of the parcels. 

" Three dozen best men's outsizes, coloured," repeated he. 

" Right," replied Mr. Ashley. 

And so on, till all the parcels were told through, and were found 
to tally with the invoice. Then began the packing. It made a 
large parcel, about four feet square. Mr. Ashley remained, look- 
ing on. 

" You will not have enough string there," he observed, as the men 
were placing the string round it in squares. 

" I told you we shouldn't, Meeking," said George Dance. 



"NOTHING RISK, NOTHING WIN." 221 



" There's no more downstairs," was Meeking's answer. " I 
thought it might be enough." 

Neither of the men could leave the parcel. They were mounted 
on steps on either side of it. Mr. Ashley called to William. 
" Light the lantern, and go up-stairs to the string-closet. Bring 
down a ball." 

Candles were not allowed to be carried about the premises. 
William came forth, lighted the lantern, and went upstairs. At the 
same moment, Cyril Dare, who had finished his disagreeable copper 
counting, strolled into the counting-house. Finding it empty, he 
thought he could not do better than take a survey of Mr. Ashley's 
desk, the lid of which was propped open. He had no particular 
motive in doing this, except that that receptacle might present some 
food or other to gratify his curiosity, which the glove-laden counters 
could not be supposed to do. Amidst other things his eyes fell on 
the Messrs. Dunns' cheque, which lay in one of the pigeon-holes. 

" It would set me up for a fortnight, that fourteen pounds ! " 
ejaculated he. " No one would find it out, either. Ashley would 
suspect any one in the manufactory before he'd suspect me ! " 

He stood for a moment in indecision, his hand stretched out. 
Should it be drawn back, and the temptation resisted ; or, should 
he yield to it ? " Here goes ! " cried Cyril. " Nothing risk, nothing 
win!" 

He transferred the cheque to his own pocket, and stole out of 
the counting-house into the small narrow passage which inter- 
vened between it and Mr. Lynn's room, where the parcel was being 
made up. Passing stealthily through the room, at the back of the 
huge parcel, which hid him from the eyes of the men and of Mr. 
Ashley, he emerged in safety in the serving-room, took up his 
position close to Samuel Lynn, and began assiduously to count 
over some shilling stacks which he had already verified. Samuel 
Lynn, his face turned to the crowd of men who were on the other 
side the counter receiving their wages, had not noticed the absence 
of Cyril Dare. Upon this probable fact, Cyril had reckoned. 

" Any more to count ? " asked Cyril. 

Samuel Lynn turned his head round. " Not if thee has finished 
all the packets." Had he seen what had just taken place, he might 
have entrusted packets of coppers to Mr. Cyril less confidently. 

Cyril jumped upon the edge of the desk, and remained perched 
there. William Halliburton came back with the twine, which he 
handed to George Dance. Blowing out the lantern, he returned to 
the counting-house. 

The parcel was completed, and James Meeking directed it, in his 
plain, clerk-like hand — " Messrs. James Morrison, Dillon, and Co., 
Fore Street, London." It was then conveyed to a truck in waiting, 
to be wheeled to the parcels' office. Mr. Ashley returned to his 
desk, and sat down. Presently, Cyril Dare came in. 

"Halliburton, don't you want to be paid to-night? Every one's 
paid but you. Mr. Lynn's waiting to close the desk." 



222 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Here is a letter for the post, William," called out Mr. Ashley. 

" I am coming back, sir. I have not set the counter straight yet." 

He received his money — thirty shillings a week now. He then 
put things straight in the counting-house, to do which was as much 
Cyril's work as his, and took a letter from the hands of Mr. Ashley. 
It contained one of the duplicate lists, and was addressed as the 
parcel had been. William generally had charge of the outward 
bound letters now ; he did not forget them as he had done in his 
first unlucky essay. He threw on the elegant cloak of which you 
have heard, took his hat, and went through the town, as far as the 
post-office, Cyril Dare walking with him. There they parted; Cyril 
continuing his way homewards, William retracing his steps. 

All had left the manufactory except Mr. Ashley and Samuel 
Lynn. James Meeking had gone down. On a late night, as the 
present, when all had done, except the master and Samuel Lynn, 
the latter would sometimes say to the foreman, " Thee can go on to 
thy supper ; I will lock up, and bring thee the keys." Mr. Ashley 
was setting his desk straight — putting sundry papers in their places ; 
tearing up others. He unlocked his cash drawer, and put his hand 
into the pigeon-hole for the cheque. It was not there. Neither 
there nor anywhere, that he could see. 

" Why, where's that cheque ? " he exclaimed. 

It caused Samuel Lynn to turn. " Cheque ? 99 he repeated. 

" Dunns' cheque, that you brought me an hour ago." 

" I saw thee put it in the second pigeon-hole," said the Quaker, 
advancing to the desk, and standing by Mr. Ashley. 

" I know I did. But it is gone." 

" Thee must have moved it. Perhaps it is in thy private 
drawer ? " 

Mr. Ashley shook his head : he was deep in consideration. " I 
have not touched it since I placed it there," he presently said. 
" Unless surely I cannot have torn it up by mistake ? " 

He and Samuel Lynn both stooped over the waste-paper basket. 
They could detect nothing of the sort amidst its contents. Mr. 
Ashley was nonplussed. " This is a curious thing, Samuel," said 
he. " No one was in the room during my absence except William 
Halliburton." 

" He would not meddle with thy desk," observed the Quaker. 

" No : nor suffer any one else to meddle with it. I should like to 
see William. He may possibly throw some light upon the subject. 
The cheque could not vanish into thin air." 

Samuel Lynn went down to James Meeking's, whom he disturbed 
at supper. He bade him watch at the entrance-gate for the return 
of William from the post-office, and request him to walk into the 
manufactory. William was not very long in making his appearance. 
He received the message — that the master and Mr. Lynn wanted 
him — and in he went with alacrity, having jumped to the conclusion 
that some conference was about to be held, touching the French 
journey. 



"NOTHING RISK, NOTHING WIN." 



223 



Considerably surprised was he to learn what the matter really 
was. He quite laughed at the idea of the cheque's being gone, and 
believed that Mr. Ashley must have torn it up. Very minutely 
went he over the contents of the paper-basket. Its relics were not 
there. 

" It's like magic ! " exclaimed William. " No one entered the 
counting-house; not even Mr. Lynn or Cyril Dare." 

" Cyril Dare was with me," said the Quaker. "Verily it seems 
to savour of the marvellous." 

It certainly did ; and no conclusion could be come to. Neither 
could anything be done that night. 

It was late when William reached home — a quarter past ten. 
Frank was sitting over the fire, waiting for him. Gar had gone to 
bed tired; Mrs. Halliburton with headache; Dobbs, because there 
was nothing more to do. 

" How late you are ! " was Frank's salutation. " Just because I 
want to have a talk with you." 

" Upon the old theme," said William, with a smile. " Oxford or 
Cambridge ? " 

" I say, William, if you are going to throw cold water upon 
it But it won't put a damper upon me," broke off Frank, gaily. 

" I would rather throw hot water on it than cold, Frank." 

* Look here, William. I am growing up to be a man, and I can't 
bear the idea of living longer upon my mother. At my age I ought 
to be helping her. I am no nearer the University than I was years 
ago; and if I cannot get there, all my labour and my learning will 
be thrown away." 

" Not thrown away," said William. 

"Thrown away as far as my views are concerned. I must go to 
the Bar, or go to nothing — aut Ccesar, aut mdlus. To the Univer- 
sity I will go ; and I see nothing for it but to do so as a servitor. 
I shan't care a fig for the ridicule of those who get there by a 
golden road. There's Lacon going to Christchurch at Easter, a 
gentleman commoner ; Parr goes to Cambridge, to old Trinity." 

" They are the sons of rich men." 

" I am not envying them. We have not faced the difficulties of 
our position so long, and made the best of them, for me to begin 
envying others now. Wall's nephew goes up at Easter " 

" Oh, does he ? " interrupted William. " I thought he could not 
manage it." 

" Nor can he manage it in that sense. His father has too large 
a family to help him, and there's no chance of the exhibition. It is 
promised, Keating has announced. The exhibitions in Helstonleigh 
College don't go by right." 

" Right, or merit, do you mean, Frank ? " 

" I suppose I mean merit ; but the one implies the other. They 
go by neither." 

" Or you think that Frank Halliburton would have had it ?" 
"At any rate, he has not got it. Neither has Wall. There- 



224 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



fore, we have made up our minds, he and I, to go to Oxford as 
servitors." 

" All right ! Success to you both ! " 

Frank fell into a reverie. The friend of whom he spoke, Wall, 
was nephew of the under-master of the college school. " Of course 
I never expected to get to college in any other way," continued 
Frank, taking up the tongs, and balancing them on his fingers. 
"If an exhibition did at odd moments cross my hopes, I would not 
dwell upon it. There are fellows in the school richer and greater 
than I. However, the exhibition is gone, and there's an end of it. 
The question now is — if I do go as a servitor, can my mother find 
the little additional expense necessary to keep me there ? " 

" Yes, I am sure she can : and will," replied William. 

"There'll be the expenses of travelling, and sundry other little 
things," went on Frank. " Wall says it will cost each of us about 
fifteen pounds a year. We have dinner and supper free. Of course, 
I should never think of tea, and for breakfast, I would take milk 
and plain bread. There'd be living at home between terms — unless 
I found something to do — and my clothes." 

"It can be managed. Frank, you'll drop those tongs." 
" " What we shall have to do, as servitors, neither I nor Wall can 
precisely tell," continued Frank, paying no attention to the warning. 
"Wall says, brushing clothes, and setting tables for meals, and 
waiting on the other students at dinner, will be amongst the re- 
freshing exercises. However it may be, my mind is made up to do. 
If they put me to black shoes, I shall only sing over it, and sit down 
to my studies with a better will when the shoes have come to an end." 

William smiled. " Blacking shoes will be no new employment to 
you, Frank." 

" No. And if ever I catch myself coveting the ease and dignity 
of the lordly hats, I shall just cast my thoughts back again to our 
early privations, to what my mother struggled through for us ; and 
that will bring me down again. We owe all to her ; and I hope she 
will owe something to us in the shape of comforts before she dies," 
warmly added Frank, the tears rising to his eyes. 

" It is what I have hoped for years," replied William, in a low 
tone. " It is coming, Frank." 

" Well, I think I do now see one step before me. You remember 
papa's dream, William ? " 

William simply bowed his head. 

" Lately I have not even seen that step. Between ourselves, I 
was losing some of my hopefulness ; and you know that is what I 
never lost, whatever the rest of you may have done." 

" We none of us lost hope, Frank. It was hope that enabled us 
to bear on. You were over-sanguine." 

" It comes to the same thing. The step I see before me now, is 
to go to Oxford as a servitor. To St. John's if I can, for I should 
like to be with Wall. He is a good, plodding fellow, though I don't 
know that he is overburthened with brains." 



MRS. DARE'S GOVERNESS. 



225 



" Not with the quick brains of Frank Halliburton." 

Frank laughed. "You know Perry, the minor canon? He also 

went to St. John's as a servitor. I shall get him to tell me " 

Frank stopped. The tongs had gone down with a clatter. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

MRS. DARE'S GOVERNESS. 

" There's such a row at our place ! " suddenly announced Cyril 
Dare, at the Pomeranian Knoll dinner-table, one Monday evening. 
"What about? " asked Mr. Dare. 

" Some money's missing. At least, a cheque ; which amounts to 
the same thing." 

" Not quite the same," dissented Mr. Dare. " Unless it has been 
cashed." 

" I mean the same as regards noise," continued Cyril. " There's 
as much fuss being made over it as if it had been fourteen pounds' 
weight of solid gold. It was a cheque of Dunns' ; and the master 
put it into his desk, or says he did so. When he came to look for 
it, it was gone." 

"Who took it?" inquired Mr. Dare. 

" Who's to know? That's what we want to find out." 

" What was the amount ? " 

" Fourteen pounds, I say. A paltry sum. Ashley makes a boast, 
and says it's not the amount that bothers him, but the feeling that 
we must have some one false near us." 

"Don't speak so slightingly of money," rebuked Mr. Dare. 
" Fourteen pounds are not so easily picked up that it should be 
pleasant to lose them." 

" I'm sure I don't want to speak slightingly of money," returned 
Cyril, rebelliously. "You keep me too short, sir, for me not to 
know the full value of it. But fourteen pounds cannot be much of 
a loss to Mr. Ashley." 

" If I keep you short, you have forced me to it by your extrava- 
gances — you and the rest of you," responded Mr. Dare, in a short, 
emphatic tone. 

An unpleasant pause ensued. When the father of a family 
intimates that his income is diminishing, it is not a welcome 
announcement. The young Dares had been obliged to hear it often 
lately. Adelaide broke the silence. 

" How was the cheque taken? " 

" It was a cheque brought by Dunns' people on Saturday night, 
in exchange for money, and the master placed it in his open desk 
in the counting-house," explained Cyril. " He went into Lynn's 
room to watch the packing, and was away an hour. When he 
returned, the cheque was gone." 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 15 



226 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"Who was in the counting-house?" 

" Not a soul except Halliburton. He was there all the time." 
"And no one else went in? " cried Mr. Dare. 
" No one," replied Cyril, sending up his plate for more meat. 
"Why, then, it would look as if Halliburton took it? " exclaimed 
Mr. Dare. 

Cyril raised his eyebrows. " No one would venture to suggest as 
much in the hearing of the manufactory. It appears to be im- 
pressed with the opinion that Halliburton, like kings, can do no 
wrong." 

" Mr. Ashley is so?" 

" Mr. Ashley, and downwards." 

" But, Cyril, if the facts are as you state, Halliburton must have 
been the one to take it," objected Mr. Dare. " Possibly the cheque 
may have been only mislaid ? " 

" The counting-house underwent a thorough search this morning, 
and every corner of the master's desk was turned out, but nothing 
came of it. Halliburton appears to be in a world of surprise as to 
where it can have gone ; but he does not seem to glance at the fact 
that suspicion may attach to him." 

" Of course Mr. Ashley intends to investigate it officially? " said 
Mr. Dare. 

" He does not say," replied Cyril. " He had the two packers 
before him this morning separately, inquiring if they saw any one 
pass through the room to the counting-house on Saturday night. 
He also questioned me. We had none of us seen anything of the 
sort." 

"Where were you at the time, Cyril?" eagerly questioned Mr. 
Dare. 

Knowing what we know, it may seem a pointed question. It was 
not, however, so spoken. Mr. Dare would probably have suspected 
the whole manufactory before casting suspicion upon his son. The 
thought that really crossed his mind was, that if his son had hap- 
pened to be in the way, and had seen the thief, whoever he might be, 
steal into the counting-house, so that, through him, he might be 
discovered, it would have been a feather in Cyril's cap in the sight 
of Mr. Ashley. And to find favour with Mr. Ashley, Mr. Dare con- 
sidered ought to be the ruling aim of Cyril's life. i 

" I was away from it all, as it happened," said Cyril, in reply to 
the question. " Old Lynn nailed me, on Saturday, to help to pay 
the men. While the cheque was disappearing, I was at the delight- 
ful employment of counting coppers." 

a Did one of the packers get in? " 

" Impossible. They were under Mr. Ashley's eye the whole time." 

" Look here, Cyril," interrupted Mrs. Dare, the first word she had 
spoken : " is it sure that that yea-and-nay Simon of a Quaker has 
not helped himself to it? " 

Cyril burst into a laugh. " He is not a Simon in the manufac- 
tory, I can tell you, ma'am. He is too much of a martinet," 



MRS. DARE'S GOVERNESS. 



227 



"Will Mr. Ashley be at the manufactory this evening, Cyril? " 
questioned Mr. Dare. 

" You may as well ask me whether the moon will shine," was the 
response of Cyril. " Mr. Ashley comes sometimes in an evening ; 
but we never know whether he will, or not, beforehand." 

" Because he may be glad of legal assistance," remarked Mr. 
Dare, who rarely failed to turn an eye to business. 

You may remember the party that formerly sat round Mr. Dare's 
dinner-table on that day, some years ago, when Herbert was pleased 
to fancy that he fared badly, not appreciating the excellences of 
lamb. Two of that party were now absent from it — Julia Dare and 
Miss Benyon. Julia had married, and had left England with her 
husband ; and Miss Benyon had been discarded for a more fashion- 
able governess. 

This fashionable governess now sat at the table. She was called 
Mademoiselle Varsini. You must not mistake her for a French 
woman ; she was an Italian. She had been a great deal in France, 
and spoke the language as a native — indeed, it was more easy to 
her now than her childhood's tongue ; and French was the language 
she was required to converse in with her pupils, Rosa and Minny 
Dare. English also she spoke fluently, but with a foreign accent. 

She was peculiar-looking. Her complexion was of pale olive, and 
her eyes were light blue. It is not often that light blue eyes are 
seen in conjunction with so dark a skin. Strange eyes they were — 
eyes that glistened as if they were made of glass; they had, at 
times, a hard, glazed appearance. Her black hair was drawn from 
her face, and twisted into innumerable rolls at the back of her 
head. It was smooth and beautiful, as if a silken rope had been 
coiled there. Her lips were thin and compressed in a remarkable 
degree, which may have been supposed to indicate firmness ot 
character. Tall, and full across the bust for her years, her figure 
would have been called a fine one. She wore a closely-fitting 
dress, of some soft, dark material, with small embroidered cuffs 
and collar. 

What were her years? She said twenty-five: but she might be 
taken for either older or younger. It is difficult to guess with cer- 
tainty the age of an Italian woman. As a rule, they look much 
older than English women ; and, when they do begin to show age, 
they show it rapidly. Mr. Dare had never approved of the engage- 
ment of this foreign governess. Mrs. Dare had picked her up from 
an advertisement, and had persisted in engaging her, in spite of the 
written references being in French, and that she could only read 
one word in ten of them. Mr. Dare's scruples were solely pecuniary. 
The salary was to be fifty pounds a year ; exactly double the amount 
paid to Miss Benyon; and he had great expenses on him now. 
" What did the girls want with a fashionable foreign governess ? " 
he asked. But he made no impression upon Mrs. Dare. The lady 
was engaged, and arrived in Helstonleigh : and Mr. Dare had 
declared, from that hour to this, that he could not make her out. 



228 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



He professed to be a great reader of the human face, and of human 
character. 

"Has there been any attempt made to cash the cheque?" re- 
sumed Mr. Dare to Cyril. 

" Ashley said nothing about that," replied Cyril. " It was lost 
after banking hours on Saturday night ; therefore he would be sure 
to stop it at the bank before Monday morning. It is Ashley's loss; 
Dunns, of course, have nothing to do with it." 

" It would be no difficult matter to change it in the town," 
remarked Anthony Dare. " Anyone would cash a cheque of 
Dunns'; it is as good as a bank-note." 

Cyril lifted his shoulders. " The fellow had better not be caught 
at it, though." 

" What would be the punishment in Angleterre for such a 
crime? " spoke up the governess. 

" Transportation for a longer or a shorter period," replied Mr. 
Dare. 

" What you would phrase aux galeres, mademoiselle," struck in 
Herbert. 

" Ah, ga ! " responded mademoiselle. 

As they called her " mademoiselle " we must do the same. There 
had been a discussion as to what she was to be called when she 
first came. Miss Varsini was not grand enough. Signora Varsini 
was not deemed familiar enough for daily use. Besides, there was 
some little uncertainty as to the strictly orthodox pronounciation of 
the word signora. Therefore " mademoiselle " was decided upon. 
It appeared to be all one to mademoiselle herself. She had been 
accustomed, she said, to be called mademoiselle in France. 

Mr. Dare hurried over his dinner and his wine, and rose. He 
was going to find out Mr. Ashley. He was in hopes some profes- 
sional business might arise to him in the investigation of the loss 
spoken of by Cyril. He was not a particularly covetous man, and 
had never been considered grasping, especially in business; but 
circumstances were rendering him so now. His general expenses 
were enormous — his sons contrived that their own expenses should 
be enormous ; and Mr. Dare sometimes did not know which way to 
turn, to meet them. Anthony drained him — it was Mr. Dare's own 
expression; Herbert drained him; Cyril wanted to drain him; 
George was working on for it. Small odds and ends,, arising in a 
lawyer's practice, that, years ago, Mr. Dare would scarcely have 
cared to trouble himself to undertake, were eagerly sought for by 
him now. He must work to live. It was not that his practice was 
a bad one; it was an excellent practice; but, do as Mr. Dare would, 
his expenses outran it. 

He bent his steps to the manufactory. Had Mr. Ashley not 
been there, Mr. Dare would have gone on to his house. But Mr. 
Ashley was there. They were shut into the private room, and 
Mr. Ashley gave the particulars of the loss, more in detail than 
Cyril had given them. 



MRS. DARE'S GOVERNESS. 



229 



" There is only one opinion to be formed," observed Mr. Dare. 
"Young Halliburton was the thief. The cheque could not go of 
itself; and no one else appears to have been near it." 

In urging the case against William, Mr. Dare was influenced by- 
no covert motive. He drew his inferences from the circumstances 
related to him, and spoke in accordance with them. The resent- 
ment he had once felt against the Halliburtons for coming to 
Helstonleigh (though the resentment was on Mrs. Dare's part 
rather than on his), had long ago died away. They did not cross 
his path, or he theirs ; they did not presume upon the relationship ; 
had not, so far as Mr. Dare knew, made it known abroad; there- 
fore they were quite welcome to be in Helstonleigh, for Mr. Dare. 
To do Mr. Dare justice, he was rather kindly disposed towards 
his fellow-creatures, unless self-interest carried him the other way. 
Cyril , often amused himself at home by abusing William Halli- 
burton : they were tolerable friends and companions when together, 
but Cyril could not overcome his feeling of dislike; a feeling to 
which jealousy was now added, for William found more favour 
with Mr. Ashley than he did. Cyril gave vent to his anger in 
explosions at home, and William was not spared in them : but 
Mr. Dare had learnt what his son's prejudices were worth. 
" It must have been Halliburton," repeated Mr. Dare.^ 
" No," replied Mr. Ashley. " There are four persons, of all those 
who were in my manufactory on Saturday night, for whom I will 
answer as confidently as I would for myself. James Meeking and 
George Dance are two. I believe them both to be honest as the 
day; and if additional confirmation, that it was not they, were 
necessary, neither of them stirred from beneath my own eye during 
the possible time of the loss. The other two are Samuel Lynn and 
William Halliburton. Samuel Lynn is above suspicion ; and I 
have watched William grow up from boyhood — always upright, 
truthful, and honourable ; but more truthful, more honourable, year 
by year, as the years have passed." 

" I dare say he is," acquiesced Mr. Dare, " Indeed, I like his 
look myself. There's something unusually frank about it. Of 
course you will have it officially investigated? I came down to 
offer you my services in the matter." 

" You are very good," was the reply of Mr. Ashley. " Before 
entering farther into the affair, I must be fully convinced that the 
cheque's disappearance was not caused by myself. I " 



" By yourself?" interrupted Mr. Dare, in surprise. 
" I do not think it was, mind ; but there is a chance of it. I 
remember tearing up a paper or two after I received the cheque, 
and putting the pieces, as I believe, into the waste-paper basket. 
But I won't answer for it that I did not put them into the fire 
instead, as I passed it on my way to Mr. Lynn's room to call over 
the parcels' bill." 

" But you would not tear up the cheque? " cried Mr. Dare. 

" Certainly not, of intention. If I did it through carelessness, 




230 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



all I can say is, I have been very careless. No ; I shall not stir in 
this matter for a day or two." 

" But why wait?" asked Mr. Dare. 

"If the cheque was stolen, it was probably changed somewhere 
in the town that same night ; and this will soon be known. I shall 
wait." 

Mr Dare could not bring Mr. Ashley to a more business-like 
frame of mind. He left the manufactory, and went straight to 
the police-station, there to hold an interview with Mr. Sergeant 
Delves, a popular officer, with whom Mr. Dare had had dealings 
before. He stated the case to him, and desired Mr. Delves to 
ferret out what he could. 

" Privately, you know, Delves," said he, winking at the sergeant, 
whom he held by the shoulder. " There's no doubt in my opinion, 
that the cheque was changed that same night — probably at a 
public-house. Go to work sub rosd — you understand; and any 
information you may obtain, bring quietly to me. Don't take it 
to Mr. Ashley." 

" I understand," replied Sergeant Delves, a portly man, with a 
padded breast and a red face, who, in his official costume, always 
looked as if he were choking. " I'll see to it." 

And he did so ; and very effectively. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

TAKING AN ITALIAN LESSON. 

But the evening is not yet over at Pomeranian KnolL 

The dinner-table had broken up. Anthony Dare left the house 
soon after his father. Mrs. Dare turned to the fire for her after- 
dinner nap : the young ladies, Adelaide excepted, proceeded to 
the drawing-room. Adelaide Dare was thinner than formerly ; and 
there was a worn, restless look upon her face, that told of care or 
of disappointment. She remained in her seat at the dessert-table, 
and, fencing herself round with a newspaper, lest Mrs. Dare's 
eyes should open, took a letter from her pocket, and spread it on 
the table. 

The Viscount Hawkesley had never come forward to make her 
the Viscountess ; but he had not given up his visits to Pomeranian 
Knoll, and Adelaide had never given over hoping. It was one of 
his letters that she was poring over now. Two or three years ago she 
might have married well. A clergyman had desired to make her 
his wife. Adelaide declined. She had possibly her own private 
reasons for believing in the good faith of Lord Hawkesley. Adelaide 
Dare was not the first who has thrown away the substance to grasp 
the shadow. 

Mademoiselle Varsini, on leaving the dinner-table, had gone up 



TAKING AN ITALIAN LESSON. 



231 



to the school-room. There she stirred the fire into a blaze, sat 
down in a chair, and bent her head in what seemed to be an attitude 
of listening. 

She did not listen in vain. Soon, stealthy footsteps were heard 
ascending the stairs, and a streak of vermilion flashed into her 
olive cheek, and she pressed her hand upon her bosom, as if to still 
its beating. " Que je sui's bete / n she murmured. French was far 
more familiar to her than her native tongue. 

The footsteps proved to be those of Herbert Dare. A tall, 
handsome man now, better -looking than Anthony. He, Herbert, 
would have been very handsome indeed, but that his features were 
spoiled by the free expression they had worn in his youth— free as 
that which characterized the face of Mr. Dare. He was coming 
in to pay a visit to the governess. He paid her a good many visits : 
possibly, he thought it polite to do so. Some gentlemen are polite, 
and some are the contrary ; some take every opportunity of im- 
proving their minds, some don't care whether they improve them or 
not. Herbert Dare we should count amidst the former: a thirst 
for foreign languages must, undoubtedly, be reckoned one of the 
desires for improvement. Minny Dare had one evening broken 
in upon a visit her brother was paying to mademoiselle, and she 
(very impertinently, it must be owned) inquired what he was doing 
there. " Taking an Italian lesson," Herbert answered, and he did 
not want Minny to bother him over it. Minny made a wry face at 
the books spread out between Herbert and mademoiselle, seated 
opposite each other at either end of the table, and withdrew with all 
speed, lest the governess should press her to share in it. Minny 
did not like Italian lessons as much as Herbert appeared to do. 

He came in with quiet footsteps, and the first thing he did was 
to — lock the door. The action may have been intended as a quiet 
reproof to Miss Minny : if so, it is a pity she was not there to profit 
by it. 

• "Have they asked for me in the salon?" began the governess. 

" Not they," replied Herbert. " They are too much occupied with 
their own concerns." 

" Herbert, why were you not here on Saturday night?" she asked. 

"On Saturday night? Oh — I remember. I had to go out to 
keep an engagement." 

" You might have spoken to me first, then," she answered resent- 
fully. "Just one little word. I did come up here, and I waited — ■ 
I waited! After the tea, I came up, and I waited again. Ah! 
quelle patience ! " 

" Waited to give me my Italian lesson ? " 
1 Herbert Dare spoke in a voice of laughing raillery. The Italian 
girl did not seem inclined to laugh. She stood on one side the 
fire, and its blaze — it was the only light in the room — flickered on 
her compressed lips. More compressed than ever, were they, to- 
night. 

" Now, what's the use of turning cross, Bianca?" continued 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Herbert, still laughing. "You are as exacting as if I paid you a 
guinea a lesson, and went upon the system of 1 no lesson, no pay.' 
If " 

"Bah!" interrupted mademoiselle angrily: and it certainly was 
not respectful of Herbert, as pupil, to call her by her Christian 
name — if it was that which angered her. " I am getting nearly tired 
of it all." 

" Tired of me ! You might have a worse pupil " 

" Will you be quiet, then ! " cried she, stamping her foot. " I am 
not inclined for folly to-night. You shall not say again you are 
coming here, if you don't come, mind, as you did on Saturday 
night." 

" Well, I had an engagement, and I went straight off from the 
dinner-table to keep it," answered Herbert, becoming serious. 
" Upon my word of honour, it was not my fault, Bianca ; it was a 
business engagement. I had not time to come here before I went." 
Then you might have come when you returned," she said. 

"Scarcely," replied he. " I was not home till two in the morning." 

Bianca Varsini lifted her strange eyes to his. "Why tell me 
that?" she asked, her voice changing to one of mournful complaint. 
" I know you went out from dinner — I watched you out ; and I saw 
you when you went out again. It was past ten. I saw you with 
my own eyes." 

" You must have good eyes, Bianca. I went out from the dinner- 
table " 

"Not then — not then ; I speak not of then," she vehemently 
interrupted. " You might have come here before you went out the 
second time." 

" I declare I don't know what you mean," he said, staring at her. 
" I did not come in until two in the morning. It was past two." 

" But I saw you," she persisted. " It was moonlight, and I saw 
you cross the lawn from the dining-room window, and go out. I 
was at this window, and I watched you go in the direction of the 
gate. It was long past ten." 

" Bianca, you were dreaming ! I was not near the house." 

Again she stamped her foot. " Why you deceive me ? Would I 
say I saw you if I did not ? " 

Herbert had once seen Bianca Varsini in a passion. He did not 
care to see her in one again. When he said that he had not come 
near the house, from the time of his leaving it on rising from dinner, 
until two in the morning, he had said the strict truth. What the 
Italian girl was driving at, he could not imagine : but he deemed it 
as well to drop the subject. 

" You are a folle, Bianca, as you often call yourself," said he 
jestingly, taking her hands. " You go into a temper for nothing. 
I'd get rid of that haste, if I were you." 

"It was my mother's temper," she answered, drawing her hands 
away, and letting them fall by her side. "Do you know what she 
once did ! She spit in the face of the Archeveque of Paris ! " 



TAKING AN ITALIAN LESSON. 233 



" She was a lady ! " cried Herbert ironically. " How was that ? " 

"He offended her. He was passing her in procession at the Fete 
Dieu, and he said something reproachful to her, and it put her in a 
temper, and she spit at him ! She could do worse than that if she 
liked ! She could have died for those who were kind to her ; but 
let them offend her — je les en fais mes compliments ! " 

" I say, mademoiselle, who was your mother ? " 

" Never you mind ! She was on the stage ; not what you English 
call good. But she was good to me ; and she wished me to be what 
she was not. When I was twelve she put me into a convent. La 
maudite place ! " 

Herbert laughed. He knew enough of French to understand the 
expression. 

" It was maudite to me. I must not dance ; I must not sing ; I 
must not have my liberty to do the simplest thing on earth. I must 
be up in the morning to prayers ; and then at my lessons all day ; 
and then at prayers again. I did pray. I did pray to the Virgin to 
take me from it. I nearly prayed my heart out — and she never 
heard me ! I had been there a year — figure to yourself, a year ! — 
when my mother came to see me. She had been back in Italy. 
i Take me away,' I said to her, ' before I die ! ' ' No, Bianca mia,' 
she answered, ' I leave you here that you may not die ; that your life 
may be happier than mine is, for mine is the vraie misere.' I not 
tell you in Italian, as she spoke, for you not understand it," rapidly 
interrupted mademoiselle. " My mother, she continued to me : 
' When you are instructed, you shall become a gouvernante in a 
family of the noblesse ; you shall consort with the princes without 
shame ; and, perhaps, you will make a good parti in marriage. 
Though you have no fortune, you will be accomplished ; you will 
have the maniere and the tournure ; you will be belle.' Do you think 
me belle ? " she abruptly broke off again. 

" Enchanting ! " answered Herbert. " Have I not told you so five 
hundred times ? " 

n She stole a glance at the little old-fashioned oval glass which hung 
over the mantel-piece, and then went on. 

" My mother would not take me out. Though I lay on the flag- 
stones of the visitors' parlour, though I wept for it, she would not 
take me out. ' It is for your good, Bianca mia,' she said. And I 
remained there seven years. Seven years ! Do you figure it ? " 

" But I suppose you grew reconciled ? " 

« We grow reconciled to the worst in time," she answered, 
dreamily gazing into the fire with her strange eyes. " I pressed 
down my despair into myself at first, and I looked out for the oppor- 
tunity to run away. We were as closely kept as the nuns in their 
cells, in their barred rooms, in their grated chapel ; but, sooner 
than not have had my will, and get away, I would have set the 
place on fire ! " 

" I say, mademoiselle, don't you talk treason ! " cried Herbert, 
laughing. 



234 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"Do you think I would not ? " she answered, turning to him, a 
gleaming look in her eyes. " But I had to wait for the opportunity 
to escape ; and, while I waited, news came that my mother had died. 
She caught cold one night when she was in her evening robe, and it 
settled in her throat, and formed a depot, and she died. And so it 
was all over with my escape ! My mother gone, I had nowhere 
to fly to. And I stopped in that enfer seven years." 

" You are complimentary to convents, Bianca. Maudite in one 
breath, enfer in another ! " 

" They are all that, and worse ! " intemperately responded the 
Italian girl. " They are — mais n'importe ; c'est fini pour moi. I had 
to beat down my heart then, and stop in one. Ah ! I know not how 
I did it. I look back, and wonder. Seven years ! " 

" But who paid for you all that time ? " 

" My mother was not poor. She had enough for that. She made 
the arrangements with a priest when she was dying, and paid the 
money to him. The convent educated me, and dressed me, and 
made me hard. Their cold rules beat down my rebellious heart ; 
beat it down to hardness. I should not have been so hard but for 
that convent? " 

" Oh, you are hard, then ? " was the remark of Herbert Dare. 
" I can be ! " nodded Mademoiselle Varsini. " Better not cross 
meP\ 

" And how did you get out of the convent ? " 

" When I was nineteen, they sent me out into a situation, to teach 
music and my own language, and French and English. They taught 
well in the convent : I could speak English then as readily as I 
speak it now : and they gave me a box of clothes and four five-franc 
pieces, saying that was the last of my mother's effects. What cared 
I ? Had they turned me out penniless, I should have jumped to go. 
I served in that first situation two years. It was easy, and it was 
good pay." 

" French people ? " 

" But, certainly : Parisians. It was not more than one mile from 
the convent. There was but one little pupil." 
" Why did you leave ? " 

" I was put into a passion one day, and madame said, after that, 
she was frightened to keep me. Ah ! I have had adventures, I can 
tell you. In the next place, I did not stay three months ; the ennui 
came to me, and I left it for another that I found ; and the other one 
I liked — I had my liberty. I should have stayed in that, but one 
came and turned me out of it." 

" A fresh governess ? " 

" No ; a man. A hideous. He was madame's brother, and he was 
wrinkled and yellow, and his long skinny fingers were like claws. 
He wanted me to marry him ; he said he was rich. Sell myself to 
that monster ? No ! — continue a governess, rather. One evening 
madame and my two pupils had gone to the Ode'on, and he came to 
the little e'tude where I sat. He locked the door, and said he would 



TAKING AN ITALIAN LESSON. 



235 



not unlock it till I gave him a promise to be his wife. I stormed, 
and I stormed : he tried to take my hand, the imbecile ! He laughed 
at me, and said I was caged " 

" Why did you not ring the bell ? " interrupted Herbert. 

" Bon ! Do we have bells in every room in the old Parisian 
houses? I would have pulled open the window, but he stood against 
the fastening, laughing still ; so I dashed my hand through a pane, 
and the glass clattered down to the court below, and the servants 
came out to look up. 6 1 cannot undo the etude door,' I called to 
them ; 6 come and break it open ! ' So that hideous undid it then, 
and the servants got some water and bathed my hand. ' But why 
need the signora have put her hand through the glass ? Why not 
have opened the window,' said one. ' What is that to you ? ' I said. 
' You will not have to pay for it. Bind my hand up.' They wrapped 
it in a handkerchief, and I put on my bonnet and cloak, and went 
out. Madeleine — she was the cook, and a good old soul — saw me. 
6 But where is the signora going so late as this ? ' she asked. ' Where 
should I be going, but to the pharmacien's ? ' I answered ; and I went 
my way." 

" We say chemist's in England," observed Herbert. " Did he find 
your hand much damaged ? " 

" I did not go there. Think you I made attention to my hand ? 
I went to the — what you call it ? — cutler's shops, through the Rue 
Montmartre, and I bought a two-edged stiletto. It was that long " 
— pointing from her wrist to the end of her finger — " besides the 
handle. I showed it to that hideous the next day. ' You come to 
the room where I sit again,' I said to him, 'and you will see.' He 
told madame, his sister, and she said I must leave." 

Herbert Dare looked at her — at her pale face, which had gone 
white in the telling, her glistening, stony eyes, her drawn lips. " You 
would not have dared to use the stiletto, though ! " he cried, in some 
wonder. 

" I not dare ! You do not know me. When I am roused, there's 
not a thing I would not dare to do. I am not ruffled at trifles : 
things that excite others do not trouble me. i Bah ! What matter 
trifles ? ' I say. My mother always told me to let the evil spirit lie 
torpid within me, or I should not die in my bed." 

" I say," cried Herbert, half mockingly, " what religion do you call 
yourself? " 

She took the question literally. " I am a Catholic or Protestant, 
as is agreeable to my places," was the very candid answer. " I am 
not a devote — a saint. Where's the use of it ? " 

"That is why you generally have those violent headaches on 
Sunday," said Herbert Dare, laughing. " You ought " 

There was an interruption. Rosa Dare's footsteps were heard on 
the stairs, and they halted at the door. 

" Mademoiselle Varsini ! " she called out. 

Mademoiselle Varsini did not answer. Herbert Dare flung his 
handkerchief over the handle of the door in a manner that hid the 



236 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



key-hole. Rosa Dare tried the door, found it fastened, and went oft 
grumbling. 

" It's my belief mademoiselle locks herself in there to get a nap 
after dinner, as mamma does in the dining-room ! " 

She was heard to enter the drawing-room and bang the door. 
Herbert softly opened that of the school-room, and went down after 
his sister. 

" I say, Herbert," cried Rosa, when he entered, " have you seen 
anything of mademoiselle ? " 

" I ! " responded Herbert. " Do you think I keep mademoiselle 
in my pocket ? " 

" She goes and locks herself up in the school-room after dinner, 
and I can't think what she does there, or what she can be at," 
retorted Rosa. 

" At her devotions, perhaps," suggested Herbert. 

The words did not please Mrs. Dare, who had then joined the 
circle. " Herbert, I will not have Mademoiselle Varsini ridiculed," 
she spoke quite sternly. " She is a most efficient instructress for 
Rosa and Minny, and we must be careful not to give her offence, or 
she might leave." 

" I'm sure I have heard of foreign women telling their beads till 
cock-crowing," persisted Herbert. 

" Those are Roman Catholics. A Protestant, as is Mademoiselle 
Varsini " 

Mrs. Dare's angry words were cut short by the appearance of 
Mademoiselle Varsini herself. She, the governess, turned to Rosa. 
" What did you want just now when you came to the school-room 
door?" 

" I wanted you here to show me that filet stitch," answered Rosa, 
slight impertinence peeping out in her tone. " And I don't see why 
you should not answer when I knock, mademoiselle." 

"It may not always suit me to answer," was the calm reply of 
the governess. " My time is my own after dinner ; and Madame 
Dare will agree with me that a governess should hold full control 
over her school-room." 

" You are perfectly right, mademoiselle," acquiesced Mrs. Dare. 

Mademoiselle went to the piano, and dashed off a symphony. She 
was a brilliant player. Herbert, looking at his watch, and finding 
it later than he thought, hurried from the house. 



( 237 ) 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

A VISION IN HONEY FAIR, 

The surmise that the missing cheque had been changed into good 
money on the Saturday night, proved to be correct. White, the 
butcher at the corner of the shambles, had given change for it, and 
locked up the cheque in the cash-box. Had he paid it into the 
bank on Monday, he would have found what it was worth. But he 
did not do so. Mr. White was a fat man with a good-humoured 
countenance and black hair. Serjeant Delves proceeded to his 
house some time on the Tuesday. 

" I hear you cashed a cheque of the Messrs. Dunn on Saturday 
night," began he. " Who brought it to you ? " 

" Ah, what about that cheque ? " returned the butcher. " One of 
your men has been in here, asking a lot of questions." 

" A good deal about it," said the sergeant. "It was stolen from 
Mr. Ashley." 

" Stolen from Mr. Ashley ! " echoed the butcher, staring at Serjeant 
Delves. 

" Stolen out of his desk. And you stand a nice chance, White, of 
losing the money. You should be more cautious. Who was it 
brought it here ? " 

" A gentleman. A respectable man, at any rate. Who says it's 
stolen?" 

" I do," replied the Serjeant, sitting himself down on the meat- 
block — rather a damp seat, from its just having been washed with 
hot water. Delves liked to make himself familiar with his old 
friends in Helstonleigh in a patronizing manner ; it was only lately 
he had been promoted to be sergeant. " Now ! let's have the par- 
ticulars, White." 

" I had just shut up my shop, all but the door, when in come a 
gentleman in a cloak and cap. ' Could you oblige the Messrs. 
Dunn with change for a cheque, Mr. White?' says he, handing a 
cheque to me. ' Yes, sir,' said I, 'I can; very happy to oblige 
'em. Would you like it in gold ? ' Well, he said he would like it 
in gold, and I gave it to him. ' Thank ye,' said he; 'I'd have 
got it nearer if I could, for I'm troubled to death with tooth-ache'; 
but people are shut up : ' and I noticed that he had kept his white 
handkerchief up to his mouth and nose. He went out with the 
gold, and I put up the cheque. And that's all I know about it, 
Delves." 

" Don't you know who it was ? " 

" No, I don't. He had a cap on, with the ears coming down 
his cheeks ; and, what with that, and the peak over his eyes, and 
the white handkerchief held up to his nose, I didn't so much as 



238 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



get a sight of his face. The shop was pretty near dark, too, for the 
gas was out. There was only a candle at the pay window." 

" If a man came in disguised like that, asking to have a cheque 
changed into gold, it might have occurred to some tradesmen that 
there'd be something wrong about it," cried the sergeant. 

" I didn't know he was disguised," objected the butcher. " I saw 
it was a good cheque of the Messrs. Dunns, and I never gave a 
thought to anything else. I've had their cheques before to-day. Mr. 
William Dunn has dealt here this twenty year. But, now that it's 
put into my head, I begin to think he was disguised," continued the 
butcher. " His voice was odd, thick and low, and he spoke as if he 
had plums in his mouth." 

" Should you know him again ? " 

"Ay. That is if he came in dressed as he was then. I'd know 
the cloak out of a hundred. It was one of them old-fashioned plaid 
rockelows." 

" Roquelaures," corrected the Serjeant. 

" Something of that. The collar was lined with red, with a little 
edge of fur on it. There's a few such shaped cloaks in the town 
now, made of blue serge or cloth." 

" What time was it ? " asked the serjeant. 

" Just eleven. I was shutting up." 

Sergeant Delves took possession of the cheque and proceeded to 
the office of Mr. Dare. A long conference ensued, and then they 
went out together towards Mr. Ashley's manufactory. On the road 
they happened to meet Cyril, and Mr. Dare drew him aside. 

"Do you happen to know any one who wears an old-fashioned 
plaid cloak ? " he asked. 

" Halliburton wears one," replied Cyril : "the greatest object of a 
thing you ever saw. I say," continued Cyril, " what's old Delves 
doing with you ? " 

" Not much," carelessly said Mr. Dare. " He has been looking 
after a little private business for me." 

" Oh, is that all?" and Cyril, feeling re-assured, tore off on the 
errand he was bound for. For reasons best known to himself, it 
would not have pleased him that Sergeant Delves should be 
pressed into the affair of the cheque. At least, Cyril would have 
preferred that the matter should be allowed to rest. 

He executed his commission, one that he had been charged with 
by Samuel Lynn, turned back, passed the manufactory, and took 
his way to Honey Fair on a little matter of his own. It was only 
the purchase of a dog — not to make a mystery of it. A dog that 
had taken Cyril's fancy, and for which he and the owner had not 
yet been able to come to terms. So he was going up again to try 
his powers of persuasion. 

As he walked rapidly through Honey Fair, he saw a little bit of 
by-play on the opposite side. A young woman in a tattered gown, 
and a dirty bonnet drawn over her face, was walking along as 
rapidly as he. Her bent head, her humble attitude, her shrinking 



f 



THE DUPLICATE CLOAKS. 239 

air, her haste to get out of the sight of others, all betrayed that 
she, from some cause or other, was not in good odour with the 
world around. That she felt herself under a cloud, was only too 
apparent : it was a cloud of humiliation, for which she had only 
herself to thank. The women who met her hurried past with a toss 
of the head, and then stood to peep after her, as she disappeared in 
the distance. 

She hurried — hurried past them — glad, it seemed, to be away from 
their stern looks and condemning eyes. Had you seen her, you 
would never have recognized her. In the dim eye, darker than of 
yore, the white cheek, the wasted form, no likeness remained of the 
once-blooming Caroline Mason. 

Just as she passed opposite to Cyril, Eliza Tyrrett came out of a 
house and met her ; and Eliza, picking up her skirts, lest they should 
become contaminated, swept past with a sidelong glance of reproach 
and a scornful gesture. Caroline's head only bent the lower as she 
glided away from her old companion. 

It had been just as well that Charlotte East had not sent back 
that bundle, years ago, to surprise Anthony Dare. It was years 
now since Charlotte herself had come to the same conclusion. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE DUPLICATE CLOAKS. 

Leaning back against the corner of the mantel-piece by the side 
of the blazing fire in his private room, calmly surveying those 
ranged before him, and listening to their tale with an impassive 
face, was Thomas Ashley. Sergeant Delves and Mr. Dare were 
giving him the account of the changing of the cheque, obtained 
from White, the butcher. Samuel Lynn stood near the master's 
desk, his brow knit in perplexity, his countenance keen and anxious. 
The description of the cloak, tallying so exactly with the one worn 
by William Halliburton, led Mr. Dare to the conclusion, nay, to the 
positive conviction that the butcher's visitor could have been no 
other than William. The sergeant held the same view ; but the 
sergeant adopted it with difficulty. 

" It's an odd thing for him to turn thief," said he, reflectively. 
" I'd have trusted that young fellow, sir, with untold gold," he added, 
to Mr. Ashley. " Here's another proof how we may be deceived." 

" I told you," said Mr. Dare, turning to Mr. Ashley, "that it could 
be no other than Halliburton." 

" Thee will permit me to say, friend Dare, that I do not agree 
with thy deductions," interposed the Quaker, before Mr. Ashley 
could answer. 

"Why, what would you have?" returned Mr. Dare. "Nothing 



240 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 

can be plainer. Ask Sergeant Delves if he thinks further proof can 
be needed." 

" Many a man has been hanged upon less," was the oracular 
answer of Sergeant Delves. 

" What part of my deductions do you object to ? " inquired Mr. 
Dare of the Quaker. 

" Thee art assuming — if I understand thee correctly — that there 
is no other cloak in the city so similar to William's as to be mis- 
taken for it." 

"Just so." 

" Then, friend, I tell thee that there is." 

Mr. Dare opened his eyes. "Who wears it?" he asked. 

" That is another question," said Samuel Lynn. l< I should be 
glad to find out myself, for curiosity's sake." 

Then Mr. Lynn told the story of his having observed a man, 
whom he had taken for William, walking at the back of his house, 
apparently waiting for something. " I saw him on two evenings," 
he observed, " at some considerable interval of time. The figure 
bore a perfect resemblance to William Halliburton ; the height, the 
cloak, the cap — all appeared to be his. I taxed him with it. He 
denied it in toto, said he had not been walking there at all, and 
I believed he was attempting, for the first time since I have known 
him, to deceive me. I " 

" Are you sure he was not ? " put in Mr. Dare. 

" Thee should allow me to finish, friend. Last night I was home 
somewhat earlier than usual — thee can recollect why," the Quaker 
added, looking at Mr. Ashley. " I was up in my room, and I saw 
the same figure pacing about in precisely the same manner. 
William's denial had staggered me, otherwise I could have been 
ready to affirm that it was himself, and no other. The moon was 
not up ; but it was a very light night, and I marked every point in 
the cloak — it was as like William's as two peas are like each other. 
What he could want, pacing at the back of my house and of his, 
puzzled me much. I " 

" What time was this, Mr. Lynn ? " interrupted the sergeant. 

" Past eight o'clock. Later than the hour at which I had seen 
him on the two previous occasions. ' It is William Halliburton, of 
a surety,' I said to myself ; and I thought I would pounce upon him, 
and so convict him of the falsehood he had told. I left my house 
by the front door, went down the road, past the houses, and entered 
the gate admitting into the field. I walked up quietly, keeping 
under the hedge as much as possible, and approached William — as 
I deemed him to be. He was then standing still, and gazing at the 
upper windows of my house. In spite of my caution, he heard me, 
and turned round. Whether he knew me or not, I cannot say ; but 
he clipped the cloak around him with a hasty movement, and made 
off right across the field. I would not be balked if I could help it. 
I opened friend Jane Halliburton's back gate, and proceeded through 
the garden and house to the parlour, which I entered without cere- 
mony. There sat William at his books." 



THE DUPLICATE CLOAKS. 



241 



"Then it was not he, after all ! " cried Mr. Dare, interested in the 
tale. 

" Of a surety it was not he. I tell thee, friend, he was seated 
quietly at his studies. i Hast thee lent thy cloak to a friend to- 
night ?' I asked him. He looked surprised, and said he had not. 
But, to be convinced, I requested to see his cloak, and he took me 
outside the door, and there was the cloak hanging up in the passage, 
his cap beside it. That is why I did not approve of thy deductions, 
friend Anthony Dare, in assuming that the cloak, which the man 
had on who changed the cheque, must be William Halliburton's," 
concluded Mr. Lynn, 

" You say the man looked like William when you were close to 
him?" inquired Mr. Ashley, who thought the whole affair very 
curious, and now broke silence for the first time. 

"Very much like him," answered Samuel Lynn. "But the re- 
semblance may have been only in the cloak and cap. The face was 
not discernible ; by accident or design, it was concealed. I think 
there need not be better negative proof that it was not William who 
changed the cheque." 

Mr. Ashley smiled. "Without this evidence of Mr. Lynn's I could 
have told you it was waste of time to cast suspicion on William 
Halliburton to me," said he, addressing the sergeant and Mr. Dare. 
" Were you to come here and accuse myself, it would make just as 
much impression upon me. Wait an instant, gentlemen." 

He went to the door, opened it, and called William. The latter 
came in, erect, courteous, noble — never suspecting the sergeant's 
business there could have anything to do with him. 

" William," began his master, " who is it that wears a similar 
cloak to yours, in the town ? " 

" I am unable to say, sir," was William's ready reply. " Until 
last night," and he turned to Samuel Lynn with a smile, " I should 
have said there was not another like it. I suppose now there must 
be one." 

"If there is one, there may be more," remarked Mr. Ashley. 
" The fact is, William, the cheque has been traced. It was changed 
at White's, the butcher ; and the person changing it wore a cloak, 
it seems, very much like yours." 

" Indeed ! " cried William, with animation. " Well, sir, of course 
there may be many such cloaks in the town. All I can say is, I 
have not seen them." 

" There can't be many," spoke up the sergeant, " if it be the old- 
fashioned sort of thing described to me." 

William looked the sergeant full in the face, with his open 
countenance, his honest eyes. No guilt there. " Would you like 
to see my cloak ? " he asked. "It may be a guide, if you think the 
one worn resembled it." 

The sergeant nodded. " I was going to ask you to bring it in, if 
it was here." 

William brought it in. " It is one of the bygones/' said he, 

^Irs. Halliburton's Troubles* 16 



2_[2 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



laughing. " I have some thoughts of forwarding it to the British 
Museum, as a specimen of antiquity. Stay ! I will put it on, that 
you may see its beauties the better." 

He threw the cloak over his shoulders, and exhibited himself off, 
as he had done once before in that counting-house for the benefit 
of Samuel Lynn. " I think the British Museum will get it," he con- 
tinued, in the same joking spirit. " Not until winter's over, though. 
It is a good friend on a cold night." 

Sergeant Delves' eyes were riveted on the cloak. "Where 
have I seen that cloak ? " he mused, in a dreamy tone. " Lately, 
too ! " 

" You may have seen me in it," said William. 

The sergeant shook his head. He lifted one hand to his temples, 
and proceeded to rub them gently, as if the process would assist 
his memory, never once relaxing his gaze. 

"Did White say the changer of the cheque was a tall man?" 
asked Mr. Ashley. 

" Yes," said Mr. Dare. " Whether he meant as tall as William 
Halliburton, I cannot say. There are not — why I should think 
there are not a hundred men in the town who come up to that 
heigth" he added, looking at William. 

" Yourself one of them," said William, turning to him with a 
smile. 

Mr. Dare shook his head, a regret for his past youth crossing his 
heart. " Ay, once. I am beginning to grow downward now." 

Mr. Ashley was buried in reflection. There was a curious sound 
of mystery about the tale altogether, to his ears. That there were 
many thieves in Helstonleigh, he did not doubt — people who would 
appropriate a cheque, or anything else that came in their way ; but 
why the same person — if it was the same — should pace the cold field 
at night, watching Samuel Lynn's house, was inexplicable. "It may 
not be the same," he observed aloud. " Shall you watch for the man 
again ? " he asked of Mr. Lynn. 

" I shall not give myself much trouble over it now," was the reply. 
" W 7 hile I was concerned to ascertain William's truthfulness " 

" I scarcely think you need have doubted it, Mr. Lynn," inter- 
rupted William. 

" True. I have never doubted thee yet. But it appeared to be 
thy word against the sight of my own eyes. The master will 
understand " 

A most extraordinary interruption came from Sergeant Delves. 
He threw up his head with a start, and gave vent to a shrill, pro- 
longed whistle. "It looks dark ! " cried he. 

" What didst thee say, friend Delves ? " 

" I beg pardon, gentlemen," answered the sergeant. " I was not 
speaking to any of you ; I was following up the bent of mine own 
thoughts. It suddenly flashed into my mind who it is that I have 
seen in one of these cloaks." 

" And who is it ? " asked Mr. Dare. 



THE DUPLICATE CLOAKS. 



243 



"You must excuse me, sir, if I keep that to myself," was the 
answer. 

" As tall a man as William Halliburton ? " 

The sergeant ran his eyes up and down William's figure. " A 
shade taller, I should say, if anything." 

" And it struck me that the man who made off across the field 
was a shade taller," observed Samuel Lynn. 

"Well, I can't make sense of it," resumed Mr. Dare, breaking a 
pause. " Let us allow, if you like, that there are fifty such cloaks 
in the town. Unless one, wearing such, had access to Mr. Ashley's 
counting-house, to this very room that we are now in, how does 
the fact of there being others remove the suspicion from William 
Halliburton ? " 

Mr. Dare had not intended wilfully to cause him pain. He had 
forgotten for the moment that William was a stranger to the doubt 
raised, touching himself. Amidst the deep silence that ensued, 
William looked from one to the other. 

" Who suspects me ? " he asked, surprise the only emotion in his 
tone. 

Sergeant Delves tapped him significantly on the shoulder. " Never 
you trouble yourself, young sir. If what has come into my mind be 
right, it isn't you who are guilty." 

When he and Mr. Dare went out, Mr. Ashley followed them to 
the outer gate. As they stood there talking, Frank Halliburton 
passed. " Look here," thought the sergeant to himself, " there's not 
much doubt as to the black sheep — I see that : but it's as well to 
be on the sure side. Young man," cried he aloud to Frank, in 
the authoritative, patronizing manner which Sergeant Delves was 
fond of assuming when he could, "what time did your brother 
William get home last Saturday night ? I suppose you know, if 
you were at home yourself." 

Frank looked at him rather haughtily. " / know," he replied. 
" I have yet to learn why you need know." 

" Tell him, Frank," said Mr. Ashley, with a smile. 

" It was a little after ten," said Frank. 

" Did he go out again ?" asked the sergeant. 

" Out again at that time ! " cried Frank. " No : he did not go out 
again. We sat talking together ever so long, and then went up to 
bed." 

"Ah! " rejoined the sergeant. It was all he answered. And he 
wished Mr. Ashley good day, and departed with Mr. Dare. 

" I am going to Oxford at Easter, Mr. Ashley," cried Frank with 
animation. 

" I am pleased to hear it." 

u But only as a servitor. I don't mind," he added, throwing back 
his head with pardonable pride. " Let me once get a start, and 
I hope to rise above some who go there as gentlemen-commoners. 
I intend to make this my circuit," he went on, half jokingly, half 
seriously. 



244 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" You are ambitious, Frank. I heartily wish you success. There's 
nothing like keeping a good heart." 

"Oh yes, success is not doubtful. I'll do battle with all the 
obstructions in my course. Good afternoon, sir." 

William, curious and anxious, could make nothing of his books 
that night at home. At length he threw up, put on the notable 
cloak, and went down to the manufactory. He found Mr. Ashley 
there; and the counting-house soon received an addition to its 
company in the person of Sergeant Delves. He had come in search 
of William. Not being aware that William was allowed the privi- 
lege of spending his evenings at home, he had supposed the manu- 
factory was the place to find him in. 

" I want you down at White's," said the sergeant. " Put on your 
cloak, will you be so good, Mr. Halliburton, and come with me?" 

"Do you suspect me ? " was William's answer. 

" No, I don't," returned the sergeant. " I told you before, to-day, 
that I did not. The fact is " — dropping his voice to a mysterious 
whisper — " I want to do a little bit of private inquiry on my own 
account. I have a clue to the party : and I should like to work it 
out." 

" If you have a sufficient clue, the party had better be arrested at 
once," observed Mr. Ashley. 

" Ah, but it's not sufficient for that," nodded the sergeant. " No, 
Mr. Ashley, sir ; my strong advice to you is, keep quiet a bit." 

They started for the butcher's, William wearing his cloak and 
cap, and Mr. Ashley accompanying them. Mr. Ashley possessed 
his own curiosity upon various points ; perhaps his own doubts. 

"It is strange who this man can be who walks at the back of 
your house," observed Mr. Ashley to William, as they went along. 
" What can be his motive for walking there, dressed like you ? " 

" It is curious, sir." 

" I should suppose it can only arise from a desire that he should 
be taken for you," continued Mr. Ashley. " But to what end ? Why 
should he walk there at all ? " 

" Why, indeed ! " responded William. 

" What coloured gloves are you wearing ? " abruptly interrupted 
Sergeant Delves. 

William took his hands from beneath his cloak, and held them 
out. They were of the darkest possible colour, next to black ; the 
shade called in the glove trade " corbeau." " These are all I have 
in use at present," he said. " They are nearly new." 

" Have you worn any light gloves lately ? Tan or fawn ? " 

" I scarcely ever wear tan gloves. I have not put on a pair for 
months." 

They arrived at the butcher's, and entered. White was standing 
at his block, chopping a bone in two. He lifted his head, and 
touched his hair to Mr. Ashley. 

"Is this the gentleman who had the money of you for the cheque?" 
began Sergeant Delves, without circumlocution, 



THE DUPLICATE CLOAKS. 



245 



Mr. White put down his chopper, and took a survey of William. 
" It's like the cloak and cap that the other wore," said he. 

Sergeants take up words quickly. " That the ' other 9 wore ? 
Then you do not think it was this one ? 99 

" No, I don't," decided the butcher. " The one who brought the 
cheque was a snorter man." 

" Shorter ! " repeated Mr. Ashley, remembering it had been said 
in his counting-house that the man, who appeared to be personating 
William, was thought to have the advantage the other way. " You 
mean taller, White." 

" No, sir, I mean shorter. I am sure he was shorter. Not much, 
though." 

There was a pause. " You observed that his gloves were tan, I 
think," said the sergeant. 

" Something of that sort. Clean light gloves they were, such as 
gentlemen wear." 

" Finally, then, White, you decide that this was not the gentleman ? " 

" Not he," said the butcher. " It's not the same voice." 

" The voice goes for nothing," said Sergeant Delves. " The other 
one had plums in his mouth." 

" Well," said the butcher, " J think I should have known Mr. 
Halliburton, in spite of any disguise, had he come in." 

" Don't make too sure, White," said the sergeant, with one of his 
wise nods. " He who came might have turned out to be just as 
familiar to you as Mr. Halliburton, if he had let you see his face. 
The fact is, White, there's some one going about with a cloak like 
this, and we want to find out who it is. Mr. Halliburton would 
give a pound out of his pocket, I'm sure, to know." 

" I'd give two," said Mr. Ashley, with a smile. 

" Sir," asked the butcher of Mr. Ashley, "what about the money? 
Shall I lose it?" 

" Now, White, just wait a bit," put in the sergeant. "If it was 
a gentleman that changed it, perhaps we shall get it out of Mm. 
Any way, you keep quiet." 

They left the shop— standing a moment together before parting. 
The sergeant's road lay one way ; Mr. Ashley's and William's 
another. " This only makes the matter more obscure," observed 
Mr. Ashley, alluding to what had passed. 

" Not at all. It makes it all the more clear," was the cool reply 
of the sergeant. 

"White says the man was shorter than Mr. Halliburton." 

" It's just what I expected him to say," nodded the sergeant. " If 
I am on the right scent — and I'd lay a thousand pound on it! — the 
man who changed the cheque is shorter. I just wanted White's 
evidence on the point," he added, looking at William ; " and that is 
why I asked you to come down, dressed in your cloak. Good night, 
gentlemen." 

He turned up the Shambles. And Mr. Ashley and William 
walked away side by side. 



246 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



CHAPTER XX. 

A HOLE DUG BY STARLIGHT. 

The conversation at Mr. Dare's dinner-table again turned upon 
the loss of the cheque, and the proceedings thereon. It was natural 
that it should turn upon it. Mr. Dare's mind was full of it ; and he 
gave utterance to various conjectures and speculations, as they 
occurred to him. 

" In spite of what they say, I cannot help thinking that it must 
have been William Halliburton," he remarked with emphasis. " He 
alone was in the counting-house when the cheque disappeared ; and 
the person, changing it at White's, is proved to have borne the 
strongest possible resemblance to him ; at all events, to his dress. 
The face was hidden — as of course it would be. People who attempt 
to pass off stolen cheques, take pretty good care that their features 
are not seen. 

" But who hesitates to bring it home to Halliburton ? " inquired 
Mrs. Dare. 

" They all do — as it seems to me. Ashley won't hear a word : 
laughs at the idea of Halliburton's being capable of it, and says we 
may as well accuse himself. That's nothing : as Cyril says, Mr. 
Ashley appears to be imbued with the idea that Halliburton can do 
no wrong : but now Delves has veered round. He shifts the blame 
entirely off Halliburton." 

" Upon whom does he shift it ? " asked Anthony Dare. 

" He won't say," replied Mr. Dare. " He has grown mysterious 
over it since the afternoon; nodding and winking, and giving no 
explanation. He says he knows who it is who possesses the second 
cloak." 

" The second cloak ! " The words were a puzzle to most at table, 
and Mr. Dare had to explain that another cloak, similar to that 
worn by William Halliburton, was supposed to be in existence. 

Cyril looked up, with wonder marked on his face. " Does Delves 
say there are two such cloaks ? " asked he. 

" That there are two such cloaks appears to be an indisputable 
fact," replied Mr. Dare. " The one cloak was parading behind the 
Halliburtons' house last night. Samuel Lynn went up to it " 

" The cloak parading tout seul — alone ? " interrupted Signora 
Varsini, with a perplexed air. 

A laugh went round the table. " Accompanied by the wearer, 
mademoiselle," said Mr. Dare, continuing the account of Samuel 
Lynn's adventure. " Thus the fact of there being two cloaks is 
established," he proceeded. " Still, that tells nothing ; unless the 
owner of the other has access to Mr. Ashley's counting-house. I 
pointed this fact out to them. But Delves — which is most unac- 



A HOLE DUG BY STARLIGHT. 247 



countable— differed from me ; and when we parted, he expressed 
an opinion, with that confident nod of his, that it was not Halli- 
burton's cloak which had been in the mischief at the butcher's, but 
the other." 

" What a thundering falsehood ! " burst forth Herbert Dare. 

"Sir/" cried Mr. Dare, while all around the table stared at 
Herbert's excited manner. 

Herbert had the grace to feel ashamed of his abrupt and 
intemperate rudeness. " I beg your pardon, sir ; I spoke in my 
surprise. I mean that Delves must be telling a falsehood, if he 
seeks to throw the guilt off Halliburton. The very fact of the 
fellow's wearing a strange cloak such as that, when he went to 
get rid of the cheque, must be proof positive of Halliburton's 
guilt." 

" So I think," acquiesced Mr. Dare. 

" What sort of a cloak is this that you laugh at, and call scarce ? " 
inquired the governess. 

" The greatest scarecrow of a thing you can conceive, made- 
moiselle," responded Mr. Dare. " I had the pleasure of seeing it 
to-day on Halliburton. It is a dark green-and-blue Scotch plaid, 
made very full, with a turned-up collar lined with red, and a bit of 
fur edging it." 

"Plaid? Plaid?" repeated mademoiselle. "Why, it must 
be- " 

" What ? " asked Mr. Dare, for she had stopped. 

" It must be very ugly," concluded she. But somehow Mr. Dare 
gathered an impression that it was not what she had been about 
to say. 

" What is it that Delves says about the cloaks ? " eagerly questioned 
Cyril. " I cannot make it out." 

" Delves says he knows who it is that owns the other ; and that 
it was the other which went to change the cheque at White's." 

" What mysterious words, papa ! " cried Adelaide. " The cloak 
went to change the cheque ! " 

" They were Delves' own words," replied Mr. Dare. "He did 
seem remarkably mysterious over it." 

"Is he going to hunt up the other cloak ? " resumed Cyril. 

" I conclude so. He was pondering over it for some time before 
he could remember who it was that he had seen wear a similar 
cloak. When the recollection came to him, he started up with 
surprise. Sharp men, these police-officers ! " added Mr. Dare. 
" They forget nothing." 

" And they ferret out everything," said Herbert with some testi- 
ness. " Instead of wasting time over vain speculations touching 
cloaks, why does not he secure Halliburton? It is impossible that 
the other cloak — if there is another — could have had anything to do 
with the affair." 

" I dropped a note to Delves after he left me, recommending him 
to follow up the suspicion on Halliburton, whether Mr. Ashley is 



243 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



agreeable or not," said Mr. Dare. " I have rarely in my life met 
with a stronger case of presumptive evidence." 

So, many, besides Mr. Dare, would have felt inclined to say. 
Herbert, like his father, was firm in the belief that William Halli- 
burton must have taken the money ; that it must have been he who 
paid the visit to the butcher. What Cyril thought may be best 
inferred from his actions. A sudden fear had come over him that 
Sergeant Delves was really going to search out the other cloak. A 
most inconvenient procedure for Cyril, lest, in the process, the 
sergeant should search out him. He laid down his knife and fork. 
He had had quite enough dinner for one day. 

" Are you not hungry, Cyril ? " asked his mother. 

" I had a tremendous lunch," answered Cyril. " I can't eat more 
now." 

He sat at the table until they had finished, feeling that he was 
being choked with dread. But that a guilty conscience deprives us 
of free action, he would have left the table, and gone about some 
work he was now eager to do. 

He rose when the rest did, looked about for a pair of large scis- 
sors, and glided with them up the staircase, his eyes and ears on 
the alert, lest there should be any watching him. No human being 
in that house had the slightest knowledge of what Cyril was about 
to do, or that he was going to do anything ; but, to Cyril's guilty 
conscience, it seemed that all must be on the look-out. 

A candle and scissors in hand, he stole up to Herbert's room, and 
locked himself in. Inside a closet within the room hung a dark 
blue camlet cloak, and Cyril took it from the hook. It had a plaid 
lining : a lining of the precise pattern and colours that the material 
of William Halliburton's cloak was composed of. The cloak was of 
the same full, old-fashioned make ; its collar was lined with red, 
tipped with fur : in short, the one cloak worn on the right side and 
the other worn on the wrong side, could not have been told apart. 
This cloak belonged to Herbert Dare ; occasionally, though not 
often, he went out at dusk, wearing it wrong side outermost. It was 
he, no doubt, whom Sergeant Delves had seen wearing one. He 
was a little taller than William Halliburton, towering above six feet. 
What his motive had been in causing a cloak to be lined so that, 
turned, it should resemble William Halliburton's, or whether the 
similarity in the lining had been accidental, was only known to 
Herbert himself. 

With trembling fingers, and sharp scissors that were not particular 
where they cut, Cyril began his task of taking out this plaid lining. 
That he had worn it to the butcher's, and that he feared it might tell 
tales of him, were facts only too apparent. Better put it out of the 
way for ever! Unpicking, cutting, snipping, Cyril tore away at the 
lining, and at length got it out, the cloak suffering considerable 
damage in the shape of cuts and rents, and loose threads. Hanging 
the cloak up again, he twisted the lining together. 

He was thus engaged when the handle of the door was briskly 



A HOLE DUG BY STARLIGHT. 



turned, as if some one essayed to enter who had not expected to find 
it fastened. Cyril dashed the lining under the bed, and made a 
spring to the window. To leap out ? surely not : for the fall would 
have killed him. But he had nearly lost all presence of mind in his 
perplexity and fear. 

Another turn at the handle, and the steps went on their way. Cyril 
thought he recognized them for the housemaid's, Betsy. He sup- 
posed she was going her evening round of the chambers. Gathering 
the lining under his arm, he halted to think. His hands shook, and 
his face was white. 

What should he do with this tell-tale thing ? He could not eat it ; 
he dared not burn it. There was no room, of those which had fires, 
where he might make sure of being alone : and the smell would alarm 
the house. What was he to do with it ? 

Dig a hole and bury it, came a prompting voice within him ; and 
Cyril waited for no better suggestion, but crept with it down the 
stairs, and out to the garden. 

Seizing a spade, he dug a hole rapidly in an unfrequented place ; 
and, when it was large enough, thrust the stuff in. Tnen he covered 
it over again, to leave the spot apparently as he found it. 

" I wish those stars would give a stronger light," grumbled Cyril, 
looking up at the dark blue canopy. " I must come again in the 
morning, I suppose, and see that it's all safe. It wouldn't do to bring 
a lantern." 

Now it happened that Mr. Herbert Dare was bound on a private 
errand that evening. His intention was to go abroad in his cloak 
while he executed it. Just about the time that Cyril was putting the 
finishing touch to the hole, Herbert went up to his room to get the 
cloak. 

To get the cloak, indeed ! When Herbert opened the closet-door, 
nothing except the mutilated object just described met his eye. A 
torn, cut thing, the threads hanging from it loosely. Nothing could 
exceed Herbert's consternation as he stared at it. He thought he 
must be in a dream. Was it his cloak ? Just before dinner, when 
he came up to wash his hands, he had seen his cloak hanging there, 
perfect. He shook it, he pulled it, he peered at it. His cloak it 
certainly was ; but who had destroyed it ? A suspicion flashed into 
his mind that it might be the governess. He made but a few steps 
to the school-room, carrying the cloak with him. 

The governess was sitting there, listless enough. Perhaps she was 
waiting for him. " I say, mademoiselle," he began, " what on earth 
have you been doing to my cloak ? " 

" To your cloak ! " responded she. " What should I have been doing 
to it?" 

" Look here," he said, spreading it out before her. " Who or what 
has done this ? It was all right when I went down to dinner." 
7 ( " She stared at it in astonishment great as Herbert's, and threw off 
a volley of surprise in her foreign tongue. But she was a shrewd 
woman, Ay, never was there a shrewder than Bianca Varsini. Mr. 



250 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Sergeant Delves was not a bad hand at ferreting out conclusions; 
but she would have beaten the sergeant hollow. 

" Tenez," cried she, putting up her forefinger in thought, as she 
gazed at the cloak. " Cyril did this." 

"Cyril!" 

She nodded her head. " You stood it out to me that you did not 
come in on Saturday evening and go out again between ten and 
eleven " 

" I did not," interrupted Herbert. " I told you truth, but you 
would not believe me." 

" But this cloak went out. And it was turned the plaid side 
outwards, and your cap was on, tied down at the ears. Naturally 
I thought it was you. It must have been Cyril ! Do you compre- 
hend?" 

"No, I don't," said Herbert. "How mysteriously you are 
speaking ! " 

" It must have been Cyril who robbed Mr. Ashley." 

" Mademoiselle! " interrupted Herbert indignantly. 

" Ecoutez, mon ami. He was blanched as white as a mouchoir, 
while your father spoke of it at dinner — and did you see that he 
could not eat ? ' You look guilty, Monsieur Cyril,' I said to myself, 
not really thinking him to be so. But, be persuaded it was no other. 
He must have taken the paper-money — or what you call it — and 
come home here for your cloak and cap to wear, while he changed 
it for gold, thinking it would fall on that other one who wears the 

cloak; that William Hall I cannot say the name; c'est trop 

dur pour les levres. It is Cyril, and no other. He has turned afraid 
now, and has torn the lining out." 

Herbert could make no rejoinder at first, partly in dismay, partly 
in astonishment. " It cannot have been Cyril ! " he reiterated. 

" I say it is Cyril," persisted the young lady. " I saw him creep 
up the stairs after dinner, with a candle and your mother's great 
scissors in his hand. He did not see me. I was in the dark, looking 
out of my room. Depend he was going to do it then." 

"Then, of all blind idiots, Cyril's the worst! — if he did take 
the cheque," uttered Herbert. " Should it become known, he is 
done for; and that, for life. And my father helping to fan the 
flame!" 

The governess shrugged her shoulders. " I not like Cyril," she said. 
" I have nev^er liked him since I came." 

" But you will not tell against him ! " cried Herbert, in fear. 

" No, no, no. Tell against your brother! Why should I ? It is 
no concern of mine. Unless people meddle with me, I don't meddle 
with them. Cyril is safe, for me." 

" What on earth am I to do for my cloak to-night ? " debated 
Herbert. " I was going — going where I want it." 

" Why you want it so to-night ? " asked mademoiselle sharply. 

" Because it's cold," responded Herbert. " The cloak was 
warmer than my overcoat is." 



A HOLE DUG BY STARLIGHT. 



251 



" Last night you go out, to-night you go out, to-morrow you go 
out. It is always so now ! " 

" I have a lot of perplexing business upon me," answered Herbert. 
" I have no time to see about it in the day." 

Some little time longer he remained talking with her, partially 
disputing. The Italian, from some cause or other, went into ill- 
humour, and said some provoking things. Herbert, it must be 
confessed, received them with good temper, and she grew more 
affable. When he left her, she offered to pick the loose threads out 
of the cloak, and hem up the bottom. 

" You'll lock the door while you do it ? " he urged. 

" I will take it to my chamber," she said. " No one will molest 
me there." 

Herbert left it with her, and went out. Cyril went out. Anthony 
had already gone out. Mr. Dare remained at home. He and his 
wife were conversing over the dining-room fire, in the course of the 
evening, when Joseph came in. 

" You are wanted, please, sir," he said to his master. 

" Who wants me ? " asked Mr. Dare. 

" It's Policeman Delves, sir." 

" Oh, show him in here," said Mr. Dare. " I hope something will 
be done in this," he added to his wife. "It may turn out a good 
slice of luck for me." 

Sergeant Delves came in. In point of fact, he had just returned 
from that interview with the butcher, where he had been accom- 
panied by Mr. Ashley and William. 

"Well, Delves, did you get my note? " asked Mr. Dare. 

" Yes, sir, I did," said the sergeant, taking the seat offered him. 
" It's what I have come up about." 

"Do you intend to act upon my advice ? " 

" Why — no, I think not," replied the sergeant. " Not, at any rate, 
until I have had a talk with you." 
" What will you take ? " 

" Well, sir, the night's cold. I don't mind a drop of brandy-and- 
water." 

It was brought, and Mr. Dare joined his visitor in partaking of it. 
He agreed with him that the night was cold. But nothing could 
Mr. Dare make of him. As often as he turned the conversation on 
the subject in hand, so often did the sergeant turn it off again. Mrs. 
Dare grew tired of listening to nothing ; and she departed, leaving 
them together. 

Then the manner of Sergeant Delves changed. He drew his chair 
forward; and bent towards Mr. Dare. 

" You have been urging me to go against young Halliburton," he 
began. " It won't do. Halliburton no more fingered that cheque, 
or had anything to do with it, than you or I had. Mr. Dare, don't 
you stir in this matter any further." 

" My present intention is to stir it to the bottom," returned Mr. 
Dare. 



252 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Look here," said the sergeant in an undertone ; " I am not 
obliged to take notice of offences that don't come legally in my way. 
Many a thing has been done in this town — ay, and is being done 
now — that I am obliged to wink at ; it don't lay right in my duty to 
take notice of it, so I keep my eyes shut. Now that's just it in this 
case. So long as the parties concerned, Mr. Ashley, or White, don't 
put it into my hands officially, I am not obliged to take so-and-so 
into custody, or to act upon my own suspicions. And I won't do it 
upon suspicions of my own : I promise it. If I am forced, that's 
another matter." 

" Are you alluding to Halliburton ? " 

" No. You are on the wrong scent, I say." 

" And you think you are on the right one ? " 

" I could put my finger out this night and lay it on the fox. But 
I tell you, sir, I don't want to, unless I am compelled. Don't you 
compel me, Mr. Dare, of all people in the world." 

Mr. Dare leaned back in his chair, his thumbs in his waistcoat 
armholes. No suspicion of the truth had crossed him, and he could 
not understand either the sergeant or his manner. The latter rose 
to depart. 

"The other cloak, similar to young Halliburton's, belongs to 
your son Herbert," he whispered, as he passed Mr. Dare. " It was 
his brother, Cyril, who wore it on Saturday night, and who changed 
the cheque : therefore we may give a guess as to who took the 
cheque out of Mr. Ashley's desk. Now you be still over it, sir, for 
his sake, as I shall be. If I can, I'll call at your office to-morrow, 
Mr. Dare, and talk further. White must have the money refunded 
to him, or he won't be still." 

Anthony Dare fell into a confusion of horror and consternation, 
leaving the sergeant to bow himself out. Mrs. Dare heard the 
departure, and returned to the room. 

" Well," cried she briskly, " is he going to accuse Halliburton? " 

Mr. Dare did not answer. He looked up in a beseeching, help- 
less sort of manner, as one who is stunned by a blow. 

" What is the matter ? " she questioned, gazing at him closely. 
"Are you ill?" 

He rose up shaking, as if ague were upon him. "No — no." 

" Perhaps you are cold," said Mrs. Dare. " I asked you what 
Delves was going to do. Will he accuse Halliburton ? " 

"Be still!" sharply cried Mr. Dare in a tone of pain. "The 
matter is to be hushed up. It was not Halliburton." 



( 2S3 ) 



CHAPTER XXI. 

A PRESENT OF TEA-LEAVES. 

How went on Honey Fair? Better and worse, better and worse, 
according to custom ; the worse prevailing over the better. 

Of all its inhabitants, none had advanced so well as Robert East. 
Honestly to confess it, that is not saying much; since the greater 
portion, instead of advancing in the world's social scale, had re- 
trograded. Robert had left the manufactory he had worked for, 
and was now second foreman at Mr. Ashley's. He was also 
becoming through perseverance an excellent scholar in a plain 
way. He had had one friend to help him; and that was William 
Halliburton. 

The Easts had removed to a better house ; one of those which 
had a garden in iront of it. No garden was more fragrant than 
theirs ; and it was kept in order by Robert and Thomas East. 
The house was larger than they required, and part of it was occu- 
pied by Stephen Crouch and his daughter. It was known that the 
Easts were putting by money : and Honey Fair wondered : for none 
lived more comfortably, more respectably. Honey Fair — taking 
it as a whole — lived neither comfortably nor respectably. The 
Fishers had never come out of the workhouse, and Joe was dead. 
The Crosses, turned from their home, their furniture sold, had 
found lodgings; two rooms. Improvident as ever, were they. 
They did not attempt to rise, even to their former condition ; but 
grovelled on, living from hand to mouth. The Masons, man and 
wife, passed their time agreeably in quarrels. At least, that it was 
agreeable, may be assumed, for the quarrels never ceased. Now 
and then they were diversified by a fight. The children were grow- 
ing up without training ; and Caroline — ah ! I don't know that it 
will do much good to ask after her. Caroline, years ago, had taken 
a false step ; and, try as she would, she could not regain her footing. 
She lived in a garret alone. She had so lived a long while ; and 
she worked her fingers to the bone to keep body and soul together, 
and went about with her head down. Honey Fair looked askance 
at her, and gathered up its petticoats when they saw her coming, as 
you saw Eliza Tyrrett gather up hers, lest they should come into 
contact with those contaminations. The Carters thrived; the 
Brumms, also, were better off than they used to be ; and the Buffies 
did so excellently, that a joke went about that they would be retir- 
ing on their fortune: but the greater portion of Honey Fair was 
full of trouble and improvidence. 

William Halliburton frequently found himself in Honey Fair. It 
was the most direct road from his house to that of Monsieur Colin, 
the French master. William, sociably inclined by nature, had 



254 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



sometimes dropped in at one or other of the houses. He would 
find Robert East labouring at his books much more than he need 
have laboured, had some little assistance been given him in his 
progress. William good-naturedly undertook to supply it. It 
became quite a common thing for him to go round, and pass an 
hour with the Easts and Stephen Crouch. 

The unpleasant social features of Honey Fair thus obtruded 
themselves on William Halliburton's notice; it was impossible that 
any one, passing much through Honey Fair, should not be struck 
with them. Could nothing be done to rescue the people from this 
degraded condition ? — and a degraded one it was, compared with 
what it might have been. Young and inexperienced as he was, it 
was a question that sometimes rose to William's mind. Dirty 
homes, scolding mothers, ragged and pining children, rough and 
swearing husbands! Waste, discomfort, evil. The women laid 
the blame on the men : they reproached them with wasting their 
evenings and their money at the public-house. The men retorted 
upon the women, and said they had not a home " fit for a pig to 
come into." Meanwhile the money, whether earned by husband or 
wife, went* It went somehow, bringing apparently nothing to show 
for it, and the least possible return of good. Thus they struggled 
and squabbled on, their lives little better than one continued scene 
of scramble, discomfort, and toil. At a year's end they were not in 
the least bettered, not in the least raised, socially, morally, or physi- 
cally, from their condition at the year's commencement. Nothing 
had been achieved ; except that they were one year nearer to the 
great barrier which separates time from eternity. 

Ask them what they were toiling and struggling for. They did 
not know. What was their end, their aim ? They had none. If 
they could only rub on, and keep body and soul together (as poor 
Caroline Mason was trying to do in her garret), it appeared to be 
all they cared for. They did not endeavour to lift up their hopes 
or their aspirations above that ; they were willing so to go on until 
death should come. What a life ! what an end ! 

A feeling would now and then come over William, that he might 
in some way help them to attempt better things. To do so was a 
duty which seemed to be lying across his path, that he might take 
it up and make it his. How to set about it, he knew no more than 
the Man in the Moon. Now and then disheartening moments 
would come upon him. To attempt to sweep away the evils of 
Honey Fair, appeared a far more formidable task than to cleanse 
the Augean Stables could ever have appeared to Hercules. He 
knew that any endeavour, whether on his part or on that of others, 
who might be far more experienced and capable than he, would be 
utterly fruitless, unless the incentive to exertion, to strive to do 
better, should be first born within themselves. Ah, my friends! 
the aid of others may be looked upon as a great thing ; but without 
self-struggle and self-help, little good will be effected. 

One evening, in passing the house partially occupied by the 



A PRESENT OF TEA-LEAVES. 



255 



Crosses, the door was flung violently open, a girl of fifteen flew 
shrieking out, and a saucer of wet tea-leaves came flying after her. 
The tea-leaves alighted on the girl's neck, just escaping William's 
arm. It was the youngest girl of the family, Patty. The tea-leaves 
had come from Mrs. Cross. Her face was red with passion, her 
voice loud ; the girl, on her part, was insulting and abusive. Mrs. 
Cross had her hands stretched out, to scratch, or tear, or pull hair, 
and a personal skirmish would inevitably have ensued, but for the 
chance of William's being there. He received the hands upon his 
arm, and contrived to detain them. 
" What's the matter, Mrs. Cross ? " 

" Matter ! " raved Mrs. Cross. " She's a idle, impedent, wicked 
huzzy — that's what's the matter. She knows I've my gloving to 
get in for Saturday, and not a stroke'll she help. There's the dishes 
lying dirty from dinner, the tea-cups lying from tea, and touch 'em 
she won't. She expects me to do it, and me with my gloving to 
find 'em in food ! I took hold of her arm to make her do it, and she 
turned and struck at me, the good-for-nothing faggot ! I hope none 
on it didn't go on you, sir," added Mrs. Cross, somewhat modifying 
her voice, and pausing to recover breath. 

" Better that it had gone on my coat than on Patty's neck," 
replied he, in a good-natured, half-joking tone ; though, indeed, 
the girl, with her evil look at her mother, her insolent air, stood 
there scarcely worth his defence. " If my mother asked me to 
wash tea-things or do anything else, Patty, I should do it, and 
think it a pleasure to help her," he added, to the girl. 

Patty pushed her tangled hair behind her ears, and turned a 
defiant look upon her mother. Hidden as she had thought it from 
William, he saw it. 

" You just wait," nodded Mrs. Cross, in answer as defiant. " I'll 
make your back smart by-and-by." 

Which of the two was the more in fault ? It was hard to say. 
The girl had never been brought up to know her duty, or to do it : 
the mother, from her earliest childhood, had given abuse and blows ; 
no kindly, persuasive words ; no training. Little wonder, now Patty 
was growing up, that she turned again. It was the usual sort of 
maternal government throughout Honey Fair. In these, and similar 
cases, where could interference or counsel avail, unless the spirit of 
the mothers and daughters could be changed ? 

William walked on, after the little episode of the tea-leaves. He 
could not help contrasting these homes with his home; their life 
with his life. He was given to reflection beyond his years, and he 
wished these people could be aroused to improvement both of mind 
and body. They were living for no end ; toiling only to satisfy the 
wants of the day — nay, to arrest the wants, rather than to satisfy 
them. How many of them were so much as thinking of another 
world ? Their toil and turmoil in this was too great to enable them 
to cast a thought to the next. 

" I wonder," mused William, as he stepped towards M. Colin's, 



256 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" vvhether some of the better-conducted of the men might not be 
induced to come round to East's in. an evening? It might be a 
beginning, at any rate. Once wean the men from the public- 
houses, and there's no knowing what reform might be effected. 
I would willingly give up an hour or two of my evenings to them ! " 

His visit to M. Colin over, he retraced his steps to Honey Fair, 
and turned into Robert East's. It was past eight o'clock then. 
Robert and Stephen Crouch were home from work, and were getting 
out their books. Charlotte sat by, at work as usual, and Tom East 
was pulling Charlotte's head towards him, to whisper something to 
her. 

" Robert," said William, speaking impulsively, the moment he 
entered, " I wonder whether you could induce a few of your neigh- 
bours to come here of an evening ? " 

" What for, sir ? " asked Robert, turning round from the book- 
shelves where he stood, searching for some volume. 

" It might be so much better for them. It might end in being so. 
I wish," he added with sudden warmth, " we could get all Honey 
Fair here ! " 

" All Honey Fair ! " echoed Stephen Crouch in astonishment. 
" I mean what I say, Crouch." 

" Why, sir, the room wouldn't hold a quarter or a tenth part, or 
a hundredth part of them." 

William laughed. " No, that it would not, practically. There 
is so much discomfort around us, and — and ill-doing — I must call 
it so, for want of a better name — that I sometimes wish we could 
mend it a little." 

" Who mend it, sir ? " 

" Any one who would try. You two might help towards it. If 
you could seduce a few round here, and get them to be interested 
in your own evening occupation — books, and rational conversation 
— and so wean them from the public-houses, it would be a great 
thing." 

" There'd never be any good done with the men, take them as a 
whole, sir. They are an ignorant, easy-going lot, and don't care to 
be better." 

" That's just it, Crouch. They don't care to be better. But 
they might be taught to care. It would be a very great thing if 
Honey Fair could be brought to spend its evenings as you spend 
yours. If the men gave up spending their money, and reeling 
home after it ; and the women kept tidy hearths and civil tongues. 
As Charlotte does," he added, looking round at her. 

" There's no denying that, sir." 

" I think something might be done. By degrees, you under- 
stand; not in a hurry. Were you to take the men by storm — to 
say, ' We want you to lead changed lives, and are going to show 
you how to do it,' your movement would fail, and you would get 
laughed at into the bargain. Say to the men, ' You shan't go to the 
public-house, because you waste your time, your money, and your 



A PRESENT OF TEA-LEAVES. 



257 



temper,' and, rely upon it, it would have as much effect as if you 
spoke to the wind. But get them to come here as a sort of change, 
and you may secure them for good, if you make the evenings 
pleasant to them. In short, give them some employment or attrac- 
tion that will outweigh the attractions of the public-house." 

"It would certainly be a good thing," said Stephen Crouch, 
musingly. " They might be for trying to raise themselves then." 

" Ay," spoke William, with enthusiasm. " Once let them find the 
day-spring within themselves, the wish to do right, to be raised 
above what they now are, and the rest will be easy. When once 
that day-spring can be found, a man is made. God never sent a 
man here, but he implanted that within him. The difficulty is, to 
awaken it." 

And it is not always done, sir," said Charlotte, lifting her face 
from her work with a kindling eye, a heightened colour. She had 
found it. 

" Charlotte, I fear it is rarely done, instead of not always. It lies 
pretty dormant, to judge by appearances, in Honey Fair." 

William was right. It is an epoch in a man's life, that finding 
what he had not inaptly called the day-spring. Self-esteem, self- 
reliance, the courage of long-continued patience, the striving to 
make the best of the mind's good gifts — all are born of it. He who 
possesses it may soar to a bright and a happy lot, bearing in mind 
— may he always bear it ! — the rest and reward promised hereafter. 

" At any rate, it would be giving them a chance, as it seems to 
me, 5> observed William. " I think I know one who would come. 
Andrew Brumm." 

" Ah, he would, and be glad to come," replied Robert East. "He 
is different from many of them. I know another who would, sir ; 
and that's Adam Thornycroft." 

Charlotte bent her head over her work. 

" Since that cousin of his died of delirium tremens, Thornycroft 
has said good-bye to the public-houses. He spends his evenings at 
home with his mother : but I know he would like to spend them 
here. Tim Carter would come, sir." 

" If Mrs. Tim will let him," put in Tom East saucily. And a 
laugh went round. 

" Ever so few, to begin with, will set the example to others, 
remarked William. " There's no knowing what it may grow to. 
Small beginnings make great endings. I have talked with my mother 
about Honey Fair. She has always said : ' Before Honey Fair's 
conduct can be improved, its minds must be improved.' " 

" There will be the women yet, sir," spoke Charlotte. " If they 
are to remain as they are, it will be of little use the men doing anything 
for themselves." 

" Charlotte, once begun, I say there's no knowing where the v/ork 
may end," he gravely answered. 

The rain, which had been threatening all the evening, was coming 
down pretty smartly as William walked through Honey Fair on his 

Mrs, Halliburton's Troubles, 1 ( 



258 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



return. Standing against a shutter near his own door, was Jacob 
Cross. " Good night, Jacob," said William. 
" Good night, sir," answered Jacob sullenly. 

" Are you standing in the rain that it may make you grow, as the 
children say ? " asked William in his ever-pleasant tone. 

" I'm standing here 'cause I have nowhere else to stand," said 
the man, his voice full of resentment. " I'm turned out of our room, 
and I have no money for the Horned Ram." 

"A good thing you have not," thought William. "What has 
turned you from your room ? " he asked. 

" I'm turned out, sir, by the row there is in it. Our Mary Ann's 
come home." 

" Mary Ann ? " repeated William, not quite understanding. 

" Our Mary Ann, what took and married Ben Tyrrett. A fine 
market she have brought her pigs to ! " 
I " What has she done ? " questioned William. 

"She's done enough," wrathfully answered Cross. "We told 
her when she married Tyrrett that he was nothing but a jobber, at 
fifteen shillings a-week — and it's all he was, sir, as you know. 
' Wait,' I says to her, ' somebody better than him'll turn up.' Her 
mother says ' Wait.' Others says ' Wait.' No, not she ; the girls 
are all marrying mad. Well, she took her own way ; she would take 
it and they got married, and set up upon nothing. Neither of 
'em had saved a twopenny-piece ; and Ben fond of the public ; and 
our Maiy Ann fond of laziness and finery, and not knowing how to 
keep house any more than her young sister Patty did." 

William remembered the little interlude of that evening in which 
Miss Patty had played her part. Jacob continued. 

"It was all fine and sunshiny with 'em for a few days or a few 
weeks, till the novelty wears off, and then they finds things going 
cranky. The money, that begins to run short ; and Mary Ann, she 
finds that Ben likes his glass ; and Ben, he finds that she's just a 
doll, with no gumption or management inside her. They quarrels — 
naterally, and they comes to us to settle it. 6 You was both red- 
hot for the bargain,' says I, ' and you must just make the best of it, 
and of one another.' And so they went back : and it has gone on 
till this, quarrelling continual. And now he's took to beat her, and 
home she came to-night, not half an hour ago, with her three 
children and a black eye, vowing she'll stop at home, and won't 
go back to him again. And she and her mother's having words 
over it, and the babbies is a-squalling — enough noise to raise the 
ceiling off, and I come out of it. I wish I was dead, I do ! " 

Jacob's account of the noise was scarcely exaggerated. It pene- 
trated to where they stood, two or three houses off. William had 
moved closer, that the umbrella might give Cross part of its 
shelter. " Not a very sensible wish that of yours, is it Cross ? " 
remarked he. 

" I have wished it long, sir, sensible or not sensible. I slaves 
away my days and have nothing but a pigsty to step into at home^ 



A PRESENT OF TEA-LEAVES. 



259 



and angry words in it. A nice place, for a tired man ! I can't 
afford the public more than three or four nights a-week ; not that, 
always. They're getting corky at the beer-shops, nowadays, and 
won't give trust. Wednesday this is ; Thursday, to-morrow ; Friday, 
next night : three nights, and me without a shelter to put my head 
in!" 

" I should like to take you to one to-morrow night," said William. 
" Will you go with me ? " 

" Where to ? " ungraciously asked Cross. 

" To Robert East's. You know how he and Crouch spend their 
evenings. There's always something going on there interesting and 
pleasant." 

" Crouch and East don't wan't me." 

" Yes they do. They will be only too glad if you, and a few more 
intelligent men, will join them. Try it, Cross. There's a warm 
room to sit in, at all events, and nothing to pay." 

" Ah, it's all very fine for them Easts ! We haven't their luck. 
Look at me ! Down in the world." 

William put his hand on the man's shoulder. " Why should you 
be down in the world ? " 

" Why should I ! " repeated Cross, in surprise. " Because I am," 
he logically answered. 

" That is not the reason. The reason is because you do not try 
to rise in the world." 

" It's no use trying." 

" Have you ever tried ? " 

" Why, no ! How can I try ? " 

"You wished just now that you were dead. Would it not be 
better to wish to live ? " 
" Not such a life as mine." 

" But, to wish to live, would seem to imply that it must be a 
better life. And why need your life be so miserable ? You gain 
fair wages ; your wife earns money. Altogether I suppose you 
must have twenty-six or twenty-eight shillings a-week " 

" But there's no thrift with it," exclaimed Cross. " It melts away 
somehow. Before the middle of the week comes, it's all gone." 

" You spend some at the Horned Ram, you know," said William, 
not in a reproving tone. 

" She squanders away in rubbish more than that," was Jacob's 
answer, pointing towards his house, and not giving at all a com- 
plimentary stress upon the " she." 

" And with nothing to show for it, in return, either of you. Try 
another plan, Jacob." 

" I'd not be backward — if I could see one to try," said he, after a 
pause. 

" Be here at half-past eight to-morrow evening, and I will go in 
with you to East's. If you cannot see any better way, you can 
spend a pleasant evening. But now, Jacob, let me say a word to 
you, and do you note it. If you find the evening pass agreeably, 



260 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



go the next evening, and the next ; go always. You can't tell all 
that may arise from it, in time. I know of one thing that will." 
" What's that, sir?" 

" Why, that instead of wishing yourself dead, you will grow to 
think life too short, for the good you find in it." 

He went on his way. Jacob Cross, deprived of the umbrella, 
stood in the rain as before, and looked after him, indulging his 
reflections. 

" He is a young man, and things wear their bright side to him. 
But he has a cordial way with him, and don't look at folks as if 
they was dirt." 

And that had been the origin of the soirees held at Robert East's. 
By degrees ten or a dozen men took to going there, and — what was 
more — to like to go, and to find an interest in it. It was a great 
improvement upon the Horned Ram. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

HENRY ASHLEY'S OBJECT IN LIFE. 

On one of the warm, bright days that we sometimes have in the 
month of February, all the brighter from their contrast to the 
passing winter, William Halliburton was walking home to tea from 
the manufactory, and overtook Henry Ashley limping along. Henry 
was below the middle height, and slight in form, with the same 
beautiful face that had marked his boyhood, delicately refined in 
feature, brilliant in colour ; the same upright lines of pain knit in 
the smooth white brow. 

"Just the man I wanted," said he, linking his arm within 
William's. "You are a good help up a hill, and I am hot and 
tired." 

" Wrapped up in that coat, with its fur lining, I should think you 
are ! I have doffed my elegant cloak, you see, to-day." 
" Is it off to the British Museum? " 

William laughed. " I have not had time to pack it up." 

" I am glad I met you. You must come home to tea with me. 
Well? Why are you hesitating? You have no engagement? " 

" Nothing more than usual. My studies " 

"You are study mad!" interrupted Henry Ashley. "What do 
you want to be? A Socrates? An Admirable Crichton?" 

" Nothing so formidable. I want to be useful." 

" And you make yourself accomplished, as a preliminary step to it. 
Mary took up the fencing-sticks for you yesterday. Herbert Dare 
was at our house — some freak is taking him to be a pretty constant 
visitor just now — and the talk turned upon Frank. You know," 
broke off Henry in his quaint way, " I never use long words when 
short ones will do : you learned ones would say ' conversation.' Mr, 



HENRY ASHLEY'S OBJECT IN LIFE. 



261 



Keating had said to my father that Frank Halliburton was a brilliant 
scholar, and I retailed it to Herbert. I knew it would put him up, 
and there's nothing I like half so much as to rile the Dares. Herbert 
sneered. ' And he owes it partly to William,' I went on, ' for if 
Frank's a brilliant scholar, William's a brilliants / ' 6 William Halli- 
burton a brilliant scholar ! ' stormed scornful Herbert. ' Has he 
learnt to be one at the manufactory ? So long as he knows how gloves 
are made, that's 'enough for him. What does he want with the 
requirements of gentlemen?' Up looked Miss Mary; her colour 
rising, her eyes flashing. She was at her drawing : at which, by the 
way, she makes no progress ; nothing to be compared with Anna 
Lynn. 6 William Halliburton has forgotten more than you ever 
learnt, Herbert Dare,' cried she ; 6 and there's more of the true 
gentleman in his little finger than there is in your whole body.' 
' There's for you, Herbert Dare,' whistled I; 6 but it's true, lad, like 
it or not as you may ! ' Herbert was riled." 

Henry turned his head as he concluded, and looked up at William. 
A gleam like a sunbeam had flashed into William's eyes ; a colour to 
his cheeks. 

" Well ? " cried Henry sharply, for William did not speak. " Have 
you nothing to say ? " 

" It was generous of Miss Ashley." 

" I don't mean that. Oh dear ! " sighed Henry, who appeared to 
be in one of his fitful moods ; " who is to know whether things will 
turn out crooked or straight in this world of ours ? What objection 
have you to coming home with me for the evening ? That's what I 
mean." 

" None. I can give up my books for a night, bookworm as you 
think me. But they will expect me at East's." 

" Happy the man that expecteth nothing ! " responded Henry. 
" Disappoint them." 

" ' As for disappointing them, I shouldn't so much mind, but I 
can't abide to disappoint myself,' " returned William, quoting from 
Goldsmith's good old play, of which both he and Henry were fond. 

" You don't mean to say it would be a disappointment to you, not 
giving the lessoiv or whatever it is, to those working chaps ! " uttered 
Henry Ashley. 

" Not as you would count disappointment. When I do not get 
round for an hour, it seems as a night lost. I know the men like to 
see me ; and I am always fearing that we are not sure of them." 

" You speak as though your whole soul were in the business," 
returned Henry Ashley. 

" I think my heart is in it." 

Henry looked at him wistfully, and his tone grew serious. " William, 
I would give all I am worth, present, and to come, to change places 
with you." 

" To change places with me ! " echoed William, in surprise. 
" Yes : for you have an object in life. You may have many. To 
be useful in your generation is one of them." 



262 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"And so may you have objects in life." 

" With this encumbrance ! " He stamped his lame leg, and a looic 
of keen vexation settled itself in his face. " You can go forth into 
the world with your strong limbs, your unbroken health ; you can 
work, or you can play ; you can be active, or you can be still, at will. 
But what am I ? A poor, weak creature ; infirm of temper, tortured 
by pain, condemned half my days to the monotony of a sick-room. 
Compare my lot with yours ! " 

" There are those who would choose your lot in preference to mine, 
were the option given them," returned William. " I must work. It 
is a duty laid upon me. You can play." 

"Thank you! How?" 

" I am not speaking literally. Every good and pleasing thing that 
money can purchase is at your command. You have only to enjoy 
them, so far as you may. One, suffering as you do, bears not upon 
him the responsibility to use his time, that a healthy man does. 
Lots, in this world, Henry, are, as I believe, pretty equally balanced. 
Many would envy you your life of calm repose." 

" It is not calm," was the abrupt rejoinder. " It is disturbed 
by pain, and aggravated by temper ; and — and — tormented by un- 
certainty." 

" At any rate, you can subdue the one." 

" Which, pray ? " 

" The temper. Henry " — dropping his voice — " a victory over 
your own temper may be one of the few obligations laid upon 
you." 

" I wish I could live for an object," grumbled Henry. 

" Come round with me to East's, sometimes." 

" I— dare say ! " retorted Henry, when he could recover from his 
amazement. " Thank you again, Mr. Halliburton." 

William laughed. But he soon resumed his seriousness. " I can 
understand that for you, the favoured son of Mr. Ashley, reared in 
refinement and exclusiveness " 

" Enshrined in pride — the failing that Helstonleigh is pleased to 
call my besetting sin ; sheltered under care and coddling so great, 
that the very winds of heaven are not suffered to visit my face too 
roughly ! " was the impetuous interruption of Henry Ashley. " Come ! 
bring it all out. Don't, from motives of delicacy, keep in any of my 
faults, virtues, or advantages ! " 

" I can understand, I say, why you are unwilling to break through 
the reserve of your home habits," William calmly continued. " But, 
if you did so, you might no longer have to complain of the want of 
an object in life." 

At this moment they came in view of William's house. Mrs. Halli- 
burton happened to be at one of the windows. William nodded 
his greeting, and Henry raised his hat. Presently Henry began 
again. 

" Pray, do you join the town in its gratuitous opinion, that Henry 
Ashley, of all in it, is the proudest amid the proud ? " 



HENRY ASHLEY'S OBJECT IN LIFE. 263 



" I do not find you proud," said William. 

" You ! As far as you and I are concerned, I think the boot 
might be upon the other leg. You might set up for being proud over 
me." 

William could not help laughing. " Putting joking aside, my 
opinion is, Henry, that your shyness and sensitiveness are in fault ; 
not your pride. It is your reserved manner alone which has 
caused Helstonleigh to take up the impression that you are unduly 
proud." 

" Right, old fellow ! " returned Henry in an emphatic tone. " If 
you knew how far I and pride stand apart — but let it pass." 

Arrived at the entrance to Mr. Ashley's, William threw open the 
gate for Henry, retreating himself. " I must go home first, Henry. 
I won't be a quarter of an hour." 

Henry looked cross. "Why on earth, then, did you not go in as 
we passed ? What was the use of your coming up here, to go back 
again ? " 

" I thought my arm was helping you." 

" So it was. But — there ! don't be an hour." 

As William walked rapidly back, he met Mrs. Ashley's carriage. 
She and Mary were in it. Mrs. Ashley nodded as he raised his hat, 
and Mary glanced at him with a smile and a heightened colour. 
She had grown up to excessive beauty. 

A few moments, and William met beauty of another style — Anna 
Lynn. Her cheeks were the flushed, dimpled cheeks of her child- 
hood ; the same sky-blue eyes gleaming from between their long, 
dark lashes ; the same profusion of silky brown hair; the same 
gentle, sweetly modest manners. William stopped to shake hands 
with her. 

" Out alone, Anna?" 

" I am on my way to take tea with Mary Ashley." 
" Are you ? We shall meet there, then." 

" That will be pleasant. Fare thee well for the present, William." 

She continued her way. William ran in home, and up to his 
chamber. Dressing himself hastily, he went to the room where his 
mother sat, and stood before her. 

" Does my coat fit me, mother ? " 

" Why, where are you going ? " she asked. 

" To Mrs. Ashley's. I have put on my new coat. Does it do ? It 
seems all right " — throwing up his arms. 

" Yes, it fits you exactly. I think you are growing a dandy. Go 
along. I must not look at you too long." 

" Why not ? " he asked in surprise. 

"In case I grow proud of my eldest son. And I would rather be 
proud of his goodness than of his looks." 

William laughingly gave his mother a farewell kiss. " Tell Gar I 
am sorry he will not have me at his elbow this evening, to find fault 
with his Greek. Good-bye, mother dear." 

In truth, there was something remarkably noble in William Halli- 



264 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



burton's appearance. As he entered Mrs. Ashley's drawing-room, 
the fact seemed to strike upon Henry with unusual force, who greeted 
him from his distant sofa. 

" So, that's what you went back for ! — to turn yourself into a 
buck ! " he called out as William approached him. " As if you were 
not well enough before ! Did you dress for me, pray ? " 

" For you ! " laughed William. " That's good ! " 

" In saying 6 me,' I include the family," returned Henry quaintly. 
" There's no one else to dress for." 

" Yes, there is. There's Anna Lynn." 

Now, in good truth, William had no covert meaning in giving 
this answer. The words rose to his lips, and he spoke them lightly. 
Perhaps he could have given a very different one, had he been com- 
pelled to speak out the inmost feeling of his heart. Strange, how- 
ever, was the effect on Henry Ashley. He grasped William's arm 
with emotion, and pulled his face down to him as he lay. 

" What do you say ? What do you mean ? " 

" I mean nothing in particular. Anna is here." 

" You shall not evade me," gasped Henry. " I must have it out, 
now or later. What is it that you mean ? " 

William stood, almost confounded, Henry was evidently in pain- 
ful excitement; every vestige of colour had forsaken his sensitive 
countenance, and his white hands shook as they held William. 

"What do you mean?" William whispered. " I said nothing to 
agitate you thus, that I am aware of. Are we at cross-purposes ? " 

A spot, bright as carmine, began to flush into the invalid's pale 
cheeks, and he moved his face so that the light did not fall upon it. 

" I'll have it out, I say. What is Anna Lynn to you ! " 

'* Nothing," answered William, a smile parting his lips. 

"What is she to you?" reiterated Henry, his tone painfully 
earnest. 

William edged himself on to the sofa, so as to cover Henry from 
the gaze of any eyes that might be directed to him from the other 
parts of the room. " I like Anna very much," he said in a clear, 
low tone ; " almost as I might like a sister ; but I have no love for 
her, in the sense you would imply — if I am not mistaking your 
meaning. And I never shall have." 

Henry looked at him wistfully. " On your honour ? " 

" Henry ! was there need to ask it ? On my honour, if you will." 

" No, no ; there was no need : you are always truthful. Bear with 
me, William ! bear with my infirmities." 

" My sister, Anna Lynn might be, and welcome. My wife, never." 

Henry did not answer. His face was growing damp with physical 
pain. 

" You have one of your fits of suffering coming on ! " breathed 
William. " Shall I get you anything ? " 

" Hush ! only sit there, to hide me from them ; and be still." 

William did as he was requested, sitting so as to screen him from 
Mrs. Ashley and the rest. He held his hands, and the paroxysm, 



HENRY ASHLEY'S OBJECT IN LIFE. 265 

sharp while it lasted, passed away. Henry's very lips had grown 
white with pain. 

" You see what a poor wretch I am ! " 

" I see that you suffer," was William's compassionate answer. 

" From henceforth there is a fresh bond of union between us, for 
you possess my secret. It is what no one else in the world does. 
William, thafs my object in life." 

William did not reply. Perplexity was crowding on his mind, 
shading his countenance. 

"Well! " cried Henry, beginning to recover his equanimity, and 
with it his sharp retorts. " Why are you looking so blue ? " 

"Will it be smooth sailing for you, Henry, with Mr. Ashley ?" 

" Yes, I think it will," was the hasty rejoinder : its very haste, its 
fractious tone, proving that Henry was by no means so sure of it 
as he would imply. " I am not as others are : therefore he will let 
minor considerations yield to my happiness." 

William looked uncommonly grave. " Mr. Ashley is not all," he 
said, arousing from a reverie. " There may be difficulties elsewhere. 
She must not marry out of their own society. Samuel Lynn is one 
of its strictest members. 

" Rubbish ! Samuel Lynn is my father's servant, and I am my 
father's son. If Samuel should take a strait-laced fit, and hold out, 
why, I'll turn broadbrim." 

" Samuel Lynn is my father's servant ! " In that very fact, 
William saw cause to fear that it might not be such plain sailing 
with Mr. Ashley, as Henry wished to anticipate. He could not help 
looking the doubts he felt. Henry observed it. 

" What's the matter now ? " he peevishly asked. " I do think 
you were born to be the plague of my life ! My belief is, you want 
her for yourself." 

" I am only anxious for you, Henry. I wish you could have 
assured yourself that it would go well, before — before allowing your 
feelings to be irrevocably bound up in it. A blow, for you, might 
be hard to bear." 

"How could I help my feelings?" retorted Henry, "I did not 
fix them purposely on Anna Lynn. Before I knew anything about 
it, they had fixed themselves. Almost before I knew that I cared 
for her, she was more to me than the sun in the heavens. There 
has been no help for it at all, I tell you. So don't preach." 

" Have you spoken to her ? " 

Henry shook his head. " The time has not come for it. I must 
make it right with the master before I can stir a step : and I fear it 
is not quite ripe for that. Mind you don't talk." 

William smiled. " I will mind." 

" You'd better. If that Quaker society got a hint of it, there's no 
knowing what hullabaloo they might make. They might be for 
reading Anna a public lecture at Meeting : or get Samuel Lynn to 
vow he'd not give his consent." 

" I should argue in this way, were I you, Henry. With my 



266 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



love so firmly fixed on Anna Lynn 1 beg your pardon, Miss 

Ashley." 

William started up. Mary Ashley was standing close to the sofa. 
Had she caught the sense of the last words ? 

" Mamma spoke twice, but you were too busily engaged to hear," 
said Mary. " Henry, James is waiting to wheel your sofa to the 
tea-table." 

Henry rose. Passing his arm through William's, he approached 
the group. The servant pushed the sofa after them. Standing 
together were Mary Ashley and Anna Lynn. They presented a 
great contrast to each other. Mary wore an evening dress of shim- 
mering silk, its low body trimmed with rich white lace ; white lace 
hung from its drooping sleeves : and she had on ornaments of gold. 
Anna was in grey merino, high in the neck, close at the wrists ; not 
a bit of lace about her, not an ornament ; nothing but a plain white 
linen collar. " Catch me letting her wear those Methodistical 
things when she shall be mine ! " thought Henry. " I'll make a 
bonfire of the lot." 

But the Quaker cap? Ah! it was not there. Anna had con- 
tinued her habit at home of throwing it off, as formerly. Patience 
reprimanded in vain. She was not seconded by Samuel Lynn. 
"We are by ourselves, Patience; it does not much matter," he 
would say; "the child says she is cooler without it." But had 
Samuel Lynn known that Anna was in the habit of discarding it on 
every possible occasion when she was from home, he had been as 
severe as Patience. At Mr. Ashley's, especially, she would sit, as 
now, without it, her lovely face made more lovely by its falling curls. 
Anna did wrong, and she knew it ; but she was a wilful girl, and a 
vain one. That pretty, timid, retiring manner concealed much self- 
will, much vanity ; though in some things she was as easily swayed 
as a child. 

She disobeyed Patience in another matter. Patience would say 
to her, " Should Mary Ashley be opening her instrument of music, 
thee will mind not to listen to her songs : thee can go into another 
room." 

" Oh, yes, Patience," she would answer ; " I will mind." 

But, instead of not listening, Miss Anna would place herself near 
the piano, and drink in the songs as if her whole heart were in the 
music. Music had a great effect upon her ; and there she would sit 
entranced, as though she were in some earthly Elysium. She said 
nothing of this at home ; but the deceit was wrong. 

They were sitting down to tea, when Herbert Dare came in. 
The hours for meals were early at Mr. Ashley's : the medical men 
considered it best for Henry. Herbert could be a gentleman when 
he chose ; good-looking also ; quite an addition to a drawing-room. 
He took his seat between Mary and Anna. 

" I say, how is it you are not dining at home this evening?" asked 
Henry, who somehow did not regard the Dares with any great 
favour. 



ATTERLY'S FIELD. 



267 



" I dined in the middle of the day," was Herbert's reply. 
" The condescension ! I thought only plebeians did that. James, 
is there a piece of chalk in the house ? I must chalk that up." 
" Henry ! Henry ! " reproved Mrs. Ashley. 

" Oh, let him talk, Mrs. Ashley," said Herbert, with supreme 
good humour. " There's nothing he likes so well as a wordy war." 

" Nothing in the world," acquiesced Henry. " Especially with 
Herbert Dare." 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

ATTERLY'S FIELD. 

LAUGHING, talking, playing at proverbs, earning and paying forfeits, 
it was a merry group in Mrs. Ashley's drawing-room. That lady 
herself was not joining in the merriment. She sat apart at a small 
table, some work in her hand, speaking a word now and then, and 
smiling to herself in echo to some unusual burst of laughter. It 
was so surprising that only five voices could make so much noise. 
They were sitting in a circle ; Mary Ashley between William Halli- 
burton and Herbert Dare, Anna Lynn between Herbert Dare and 
Henry Ashley, Henry and William side by side. 

Time, in these happy moments, passes rapidly. In due course, 
the hands of the French clock on the mantel-piece pointed to half- 
past eight, and its silver tones rang out the chimes. They were at 
the end of the game — Herbert Dare standing in a corner, sent there 
to pay the penalty of the last forfeit — and just settling themselves to 
commence another. The half-hour aroused William, and he glanced 
towards the clock. 

" Half-past eight ! who would have thought it ? I had no idea it 
was so late. I must leave you just for half an hour," he added, 
rising. 

" Leave for what ? " cried Henry Ashley. 

" To go as far as East's. I will not remain there." 

Henry broke into a "wordy war," as Herbert Dare had called 
it earlier in the evening. William smiled, and overruled him in his 
quiet way. 

" They hold my promise to go round this evening," he said. " I 
gave it them unconditionally. I must just go round to tell them 
I cannot come — if that's not a contradiction. Don't look so cross, 
Henry." 

" Of course, you don't mean to come back," resentfully spoke 
Henry. " When you get there, you'll stop there." 

" No ; I have told you I will not. But if I let them expect me 
all the evening, they will be looking and waiting, and do no good." 

He went out as he spoke, and left the house. As he reached the 
gate Mr. Ashley was coming in. Mr. Ashley had been to the manu- 



263 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



factory; he did not often go there after tea. "Going already, 
William?" Mr. Ashley exclaimed in an accent of surprise. 

" Not for long, sir. I must just look in at East's." 

"Is that scheme likely to prosper? Can you keep the men?" 

" Yes, indeed, I think so. My hopes are strong." 

" Well, there's nothing like hope," answered Mr. Ashley, witn a 
laugh. " But I shall wonder if you do keep them. William," he 
added, after a slight pause, his tone changing to a business one, 
" I have a few words to say to you. I was about to speak to you in 
the counting-house this afternoon, but something put it aside. I 
have changed my plans with respect to this Lyons journey. Instead 
of despatching you, as I had thought of doing, I believe I shall 
send Samuel Lynn." 

Mr. Ashley paused. William did not immediately reply. 

" Samuel Lynn's experience is greater than yours. It is a new 
thing, and he will see, better than you could do, what can and what 
cannot be done." 

" Very well, sir," at length answered William. 

" You speak as though you were disappointed," remarked Mr. 
Ashley. 

William was disappointed. But his motive for the feeling lay far 
deeper than Mr. Ashley supposed. " I should like to have gone, 
sir, very much. But — of course, my liking, or not liking, has 
nothing to do with it. Perhaps it is as well that I should not go," 
he resumed, more in soliloquy, as if he were trying to reconcile 
himself to the disappointment by argument, than in observation to 
Mr. Ashley. " I do not see how the men would have done without 
me at East's." 

" Ay, that's a grave consideration," replied Mr. Ashley jokingly, 
as he turned to walk to his own door. 

William stood still, nailed as it were to the spot, looking after his 
master. A most unwelcome thought had flashed over him ; and in 
the impulse of the moment he followed Mr. Ashley, to speak it out. 
Even in the night's obscurity, his emotion was perceptible. 

" Mr. Ashley, the suspicion cast on me, at the time that cheque 
was lost, has not been the cause — the cause of your declining to 
intrust me with this commission?" 

Mr. Ashley looked at him in surprise. But that William's 
agitation was all too real, he would have laughed at him. 

" William, I think you are turning silly. No suspicion was cast 
on you." 

"You have never stirred in the matter, sir; you have never 
spoken to me to tell me you were satisfied that I was not in any 
way guilty," was William's impulsive answer. 

"Spoken to you! where was the need? Why, William, my 
whole life, my daily intercourse with you, is only so much proof 
that you have my full confidence. Should I admit you to my home, 
to the companionship of my children, if I had no more faith in you 
than that?" 



ATTERLY'S FIELD. 



269 



"True," said William, beginning to recover himself. " It was a 
thought that flashed over me, sir, when you said I was not to be 
sent on this journey. I should not like you to doubt me ; I could 
not live under it." 

" William, you reproached me with not having stirred in " 

" I beg your pardon, sir. I never thought of such a thing as 
reproach. I would not presume to do it."' 

" I have not stirred in the matter," resumed Mr. Ashley. " A 
very disagreeable suspicion arises in my mind at times, as to how 
the cheque went ; and I do not choose to stir in it. Have you no 
suspicion on the point?" 

The question took William by surprise. He stammered in his 
answer ; an unusual thing for him to do. " N o." 

" I ask if you have a suspicion ? " quietly repeated Mr. Ashley, 
meaningly, as if he took William's answer for nothing, or had not 
heard it. 

Then William spoke out readily. " A suspicion has crossed my 
mind, sir. But it is one I should not like to breathe to you." 

" That's enough. I see. White voluntarily took the loss of the 
money on himself. He came to me to say so ; therefore, I infer that 
it has in some private way been refunded to him. Mr. Dare veered 
round, and advised me not to investigate the affair, as I was no loser 
by it ; Delves hinted the same thing. Altogether, I can see through 
the thing pretty clearly, and I am content to let it rest. Are you 
satisfied? If not " 

Mr. Ashley broke off abruptly. William waited. 

" So, don't turn foolish again. You and I now understand each 
other. William ! " he emphatically added, " I am growing to like 
you almost as I like my own children. I am proud of you ; and I 
shall be prouder yet. God bless you, my boy ! " 

It was so very rare that the calm, dignified Thomas Ashley was 
betrayed into anything like demonstrativeness, that William could 
only stand and look. And while he looked, the door closed on his 
master. 

He went away with all speed, calling in at his home. Were the 
truth to be told, perhaps William was quite as anxious to be back 
again at Mr. Ashley's as Henry was that he should be there. 
Scarcely stopping for a word of greeting, he opened a drawer, took 
from it a small case of fossils, and then searched for something else ; 
something which apparently he could not find. 

" Have any of you seen my microscope?" he asked, turning to the 
group at the table bending over their books. 

Jane looked round. " My dear, I lent it to Patience to-day. I 
suppose she forgot to return it. Gar, will you go and ask her 
for it?" 

" Don't disturb yourself, Gar," said William. " I am going out, 
and will ask Patience myself." 

Patience was alone in her parlour. She returned him the micro- 
scope, saying that the reason she had not sent it in was, that she 



270 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



had not had time to use it. " Thee art in evening dress ! " she 
remarked to William. 

" I am at Mrs. Ashley's. I have only come out for a few minutes. 
Thank you. Good night, Patience. 

" Wait thee a moment, William. Is Anna ready to come home?" 

"No, that she is not. Why?" 

" I want to send for her. Samuel Lynn is spending the evening 
in the town, so I must send Grace. And I don't care to send her 
late. She will only get talking to John Pembridge, if she goes out 
after he is home from work." 

William smiled. " It is natural that she should, I suppose. 
When are they going to be married? " 

" Shortly," answered Patience, in a tone not quite so equable as 
usual. Patience saw no good in people getting married in general ; 
and she was vexed at the prospect of losing Grace in particular. 
" She leaves us in a fortnight from this," she continued, alluding to 
Grace, " and all her thoughts seem to be bent now upon meeting 
John Pembridge. Could thee bring Anna home for me? " 

" With pleasure," replied William. 

" That is well, then. Grace does not deserve to go out to-night, 
for she wilfully crossed me to-day. Good evening, William." 

Fossil-case in hand, and the microscope in his pocket, William 
made the best of his way to Honey Fair. Robert East, Stephen 
Crouch, Brumm, Thornycroft, Carter, Cross, and some half-dozen 
others, were crowded round Robert's table. William handed them 
the fossils and the microscope ; told the men to amuse themselves 
with them for that night, and he would explain more about them on 
the morrow. He was ever anxious that the men should have some 
object of amusement as a rallying point on these evenings ; any- 
thing to keep their interest awakened. 

Before the half-hour had expired, he was back at Mr. Ashley's. 
Proverbs had been given up, and Mary was at the piano. Mr. 
Ashley had been accompanying her on the flute, on which instru- 
ment he was a brilliant player, and when William entered she was 
singing a duet with Herbert Dare. Anna — disobedient Anna — was 
seated, listening with all her ears and heart to the music, her up- 
turned countenance quite wonderful to look upon, in its rapt 
delight. 

"I think you could sing," spoke Henry Ashley to her, in an under- 
tone, after watching her while the song lasted. 

Anna shook her head. " I may not try," she said, raising her blue 
eyes to him for one moment, and then dropping them. 

" The time may come when you may," returned Henry, in a 
deeper whisper. 

She did not answer, she did not lift her eyes ; but the faintest 
possible smile parted her rosy lips — a smile which seemed to ex- 
press a self-consciousness that perhaps that time might come. And 
Henry, shy and sensitive, stood apart and gazed upon her, his heart 
beating. 



ATTERLY'S FIELD. 



271 



u Young lady," said William, advancing, " do you know that a 
special honour has been assigned me to-night? One that concerns 
you." 

Anna raised her eyes now. She felt as much at ease with William 
as she did with her father or Patience. "What dost thee say, 
William ? An honour ? " 

" That of seeing you safely home. I " 

"What's that for?" interrupted Anna. "Where's my father?" 

" He is not at home this evening. And Patience did not care to 
send out Grace. I'll take care of you." 

William could not but observe the sudden flush, the glow of 
pleasure, or what looked like pleasure, that overspread Anna's 
countenance at the information. "What's that for?" he thought, 
echoing her recent words. But Mary began to sing again, and his 
attention was diverted. 

Ten o'clock was the signal for departure. As they were going 
out — William, Anna, and Herbert Dare, who took the opportunity 
to leave with them — Henry Ashley limped after them, and drew 
William aside in the hall. 

" Honour bright, mind, my friend !" 

William did not understand. " Honour bright, always," said he. 
"But what do you mean?" 

" You'll not get making love to her on your way home !" 

William could not help laughing. He turned his amused face 
full on Henry. " Be at rest. I would not care to make love to her, 
had I full leave and license from the Quaker society, granted me in 
public meeting," 

" Do you think I did not see her brightened countenance when 
you told her she was to go home with you?" retorted Henry. 

" I saw it, too. I conclude she was pleased that her father was 
not coming for her, little undutiful thing! However it may have 
been, rely upon it that brightening was not for me." 

Pressing his hand warmly, with a pressure that no false friend 
ever gave, William hastened away. It was time. Herbert Dare 
and Anna had not waited for him, but were ever so far ahead. 

" Very polite of you ! " cried William, when he caught them up. 
" Anna, had you gone pitching off that part of the path they are 
mending, I should have been responsible, you know. You might 
have waited for me." 

He spoke good humouredly, making a joke of it. Herbert Dare 
did not appear to receive it as one. He retorted haughtily. 

" Do you suppose I am not capable of taking care of Miss Lynn? 
As much so as you, at any rate." 

" Possibly," coolly returned William, not losing his good-humoured 
tone. Herbert Dare had given Anna his arm. William walked 
near her on the other side. Thus they reached Mr. Lynn's. 

" Good night," said Herbert, shaking hands with her. " Good 
night to you, Halliburton." 

" Good night," replied William. 



272 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Herbert Dare set off running. William knocked at the door, and 
waited until it was opened. Then he also shook hands with Anna, 
and saw her in. 

Frank and Gar were putting up their books for the night, when 
William entered. The boarders had gone to bed. Jane, a very 
unusual thing for her, was sitting by the fire, doing nothing. 

"Am I not idle, William?" she said. 

William bent to kiss her. " There's no need for you to be any- 
thing but idle now, mother." 

" No need ! William, you know better. There's great need that 
none should be idle : none in the world. But I have a bad head- 
ache to-night." 

"William," called out Gar, "they brought this round for you from 
East's. Young Tom came with it." 

It was the case of fossils and the microscope. William observed 
that they need not have sent them, as he should want them there 
the next evening. " Patience said she had not had time to use the 
microscope," he continued. " I think I will take it in to her. I 
suppose she has been buying linen, and wants to see if the threads 
are even." 

" The Lynns will have gone to bed by this time," said Jane. 

" Not to-night. I have but just seen Anna home from Mrs. 
Ashley's ; and Mr. Lynn has gone out to supper." 

He turned to leave the room with the microscope, but Gar was 
looking at the fossils, and asked the loan of it. A few minutes, and 
William finally went out. 

Patience came to the door, in answer to his knock. She thanked 
him for the microscope, and stood a minute or two chatting. 
Patience was fond of a gossip ; there was no denying it. 

" Will thee not walk in? " 

" Not now," he said, turning away. " Good night, Patience." 

" Good night to thee. Thee send in Anna, please. She is having 
a pretty long talk with thy mother." 

William was at a loss. " I saw Anna in from Mr. Ashley's." 

" She did but ask whether her father was home, and then ran 
through the house," replied Patience. " She had a message for thy 
mother, she said, from Margaret Ashley." 

" Mrs. Ashley does not send messages to my mother," returned 
William, in some wonder. " They have no acquaintance with each 
other — beyond a bow, in passing." 

" She must have sent her one to-night — why else should the 
child go in to deliver it?" persisted Patience. " Not but that Anna 
is always running into thy house at nights. I fear she must trouble 
thy mother at her class." 

" She never stays long enough for that," replied William. 
" When she does come in — and it is not often — she just opens the 
door ; ' How dost thee, friend Jane Halliburton? ' and out again." 

" Then thee can know nothing about it, William. I tell thee she 
never stays less than an hour, and she is always there. I say to 



ATTERLY'S field. 



273 



her that one of these evenings thy mother may likely be hinting to 
her that her room will be more acceptable than her company. 
Thee send her home now, please." 

William turned away. Curious thoughts were passing through 
his mind. That Anna did not go in, in the frequent manner 
Patience intimated ; that she rarely stayed above a minute or two, 
he knew. He knew — at least, he felt perfectly sure — that Anna was 
not at his house now ; had not been there. And yet Patience said 
" Send her home." 

" Has Anna been here? " he asked, when he went in. 

"Anna? No." 

Not just that moment, to draw observation, but presently, William 
left the room, and went into the garden at the back. A very 
unpleasant suspicion had arisen in his mind. It might not have 
occurred to him, but for certain glances which he had observed 
pass that evening between Herbert Dare and Anna — glances of 
confidence — as if they had a private mutual understanding on some 
point or other. He had not understood them then : he very much 
feared he was about to understand them now. 

Opening the gate leading to the field at the back, commonly 
called Atterly's Field, he looked cautiously around. For a moment 
or two he could see nothing. The hedge was thick on either side, 
and no living being appeared to be beneath its shade. But he saw 
farther when his eyes became accustomed to the obscurity. 

Pacing slowly together, were Herbert Dare and Anna. Now 
moving on, a few steps ; now pausing to converse more at ease. 
William drew a deep breath. He saw quite enough to be sure this 
was not the first time they had so paced together : and thought 
after thought crowded on his mind; one idea, one remembrance 
chasing another. 

Was this the explanation of the plaid cloak, which had paraded 
stealthily on that very field-path during the past winter ? There 
could not be a doubt of it. And was it in this manner that Anna's 
flying absences from home were spent — absences which she, in 
her unpardonable deceit, had accounted for to Patience by saying 
that she was with Mrs. Halliburton? Alas for Anna! Alas for all 
who deviate by an untruth from the path of rectitude ! If the mis- 
guided child — she was little better than a child — could only have 
seen the future that was before her ! It may have been very 
pleasant, very romantic to steal a march on Patience, and pace 
out there, all independent, in the cold, chattering to Herbert Dare; 
listening to his protestations that he cared for no one in the world 
but herself ; never had cared, never should care : but it was laying 
up for Anna a day of reckoning, the like of which had rarely fallen 
on a young head. William seemed to take it all in at a glance ; 
and, rising tumultuously over other unpleasant thoughts, came the 
remembrance of Henry Ashley's misplaced and ill-starred love. 

With another deep breath, that was more like a groan than any- 
thing else — for Herbert Dare never brought good to any one in his 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 18 



274 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



life, and William knew it — William set off towards them. Whether 
they heard footsteps, or whether they thought the time for parting 
had come, certain it was that Herbert was gone before William 
could reach them, and Anna was speeding towards her home with 
a fleet step. William placed himself in her way, and she started 
aside with a scream that went echoing through the field. Then 
they had not heard him. 

" William, is it thee ? Thee hast frightened me nearly out of 
my senses." 

" Anna," he gravely said, " Patience is waiting for you." 

Anna Lynn's imagination led her to all' sorts of fantastic fears. 
" Oh. William, thee hast not been in to Patience ! " she exclaimed, 
in sudden trembling. " Thee hast not been to our house to seek 
me!" 

They had reached his gate now. He halted, and took her hand 
in his, his manner impressive, his voice firm. " Anna, I must speak 
to you as I would to my own sister ; as I might to Janey, had she 
lived, and been drawn into this terrible imprudence. Though, 
indeed, I should not then speak, but act. What tales are they that 
Herbert Dare is deceiving you with?" 

" Hast thee been in to Patience ? Hast thee been in to Patience ? " 
reiterated Anna. 

" Patience knows nothing of this. She thinks you are at our 
house. I ask you, Anna, what foolish tales Herbert Dare is 
deceiving you with?" 

Anna — relieved on the score of her fright — shook her head 
petulantly. "He is not deceiving me with any. He would not 
deceive." 

" Anna, hear me. His very nature, as I believe, is deceit. I 
fear he has little truth, little honour within him. Is Herbert pro- 
fessing to — to love you ? " 

" I will not answer thee aught. I will not hear thee speak against 
Herbert Dare." 

" Anna," he continued in a lower tone, " you ought to be afraid 
of Herbert Dare. He is not a good man." 

How wilful she was ! " It is of no use thy talking," she re- 
iterated, putting her fingers to her ears. " Herbert Dare is good. 
I will not hear thee speak against him." 

" Then, Anna, as you meet it in this way, I must inform your 
father or Patience of what I have seen. If you will not keep 
yourself out of harm's way, they must do it for you." 

It terrified her to the last degree. Anna could have died rather 
than suffer her escapade to reach the ears of home. " How can 
thee talk of harm, William? What harm is likely to come to me? 
I did no more harm talking to Herbert Dare here, than I did, 
talking to him in Margaret Ashley's drawing-room." 

" My dear child, you do not understand things," he answered. 
" The very fact of your stealing from your home to walk about in 
this manner, however innocent it may be in itself, would do you 



ATTERLY'S FIELD. 



275 



incalculable harm in the eyes of the world. And I am quite sure 
that in no shape or form can Herbert Dare bring you good, or con- 
tribute to your good. Tell me one thing, Anna : Have you learnt to 
care much for him?" 

" I don't care for him at all," responded Anna. 

" No ! Then why walk about with him?" 

" Because it's fun to cheat Patience." 

" Oh, Anna, this is very wrong, very foolish. Do you mean what 
you say — that you do not care for him?" 

" Of course I mean it," she answered. " I think he is very kind 
and pleasant, and he gave me a pretty locket. But that's all. 
William, thee wilt not tell upon me?" she continued, clinging to 
his arm, her tone changing to one of entreaty, as the terror, which 
she had been endeavouring to conceal with light words, returned 
upon her. " William ! thee art kind and obliging — thee wilt not tell 
upon me! I will promise thee never to meet Herbert Dare again, 
if thee wilt not." 

" It would be for your own sake, Anna, that I should speak. 
How do I know that you would keep your word?" 

" I give thee my promise that I will ! I will not meet Herbert 
Dare in this way again. I tell thee I do not care to meet him. 
Canst thee not believe me?" 

He did believe her, implicitly. Her eyes were streaming; her 
pretty hands clung about him. He did like Anna very much, and 
he would not draw vexation upon her, if it could be avoided with 
expediency. 

" I will rely upon you then, Anna. Believe me, you could not 
choose a worse friend in all Helstonleigh, than Herbert Dare. I 
have your word ? " 

" Yes. And I have thine." 

He placed her arm within his own, and led her to the back door 
of her house. Patience was standing at it. " I have brought you 
the little truant," he said. 

" It is well thee hast," replied Patience. " I had just opened the 
door to come after her. Anna, thee art worse than a wild thing. 
Running off in this manner ! " 

It had not been in William's way to see much of Anna's inner 
qualities. He had not detected her deceit ; he did not know that 
she could be untruthful when it suited her so to be. He had firm 
faith in her word, never questioning that it might be depended 
upon. Nevertheless, when he came afterwards to reflect upon the 
matter, he thought it might be his duty to give Patience a little 
word of caution. And this he could do without compromising 
Anna. 

He contrived to see Patience alone the very next day. She 
began talking of their previous evening at the Ashleys'. 

" Yes," observed William, " it was a pleasant evening. It would 
have been all the pleasanter, though, but for one who was there — 
Herbert Dare." 



276 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" I do not admire the Dares," said Patience frigidly. 

" Nor I. But I observed one thing, Patience — that he admires 
Anna. Were Anna my sister, I should not like her to be too much 
admired by Herbert Dare. So take care of her." 

Patience looked steadily at him. William continued, his tone 
confidential. 

"You know what Herbert Dare is said to be, Patience —fonder of 
leading people to ill than to good. Anna is giddy — as you yourself 
tell her twenty times a day. I would keep her carefully under my 
own eyes. I would not even allow her to run into our house at 
night, as she is fond of doing," he added with marked emphasis. 
" She is as safe there as she is here ; but it is giving her a taste of 
liberty that she may not be the better for in the end. When she 
comes in, send Grace with her, or bring her yourself : I will see 
her home again. Tell her she is a grown-up young lady now, and 
it is not proper that she should go out unattended," he concluded, 
laughing. 

" William, I do not quite understand thee. Hast thee cause to 
say this ? " 

"All I say, Patience, is — keep her out of the way of possible 
harm, of undesirable friendships. Were Anna to be drawn into a 
liking for Herbert Dare, I am sure it would not be agreeable to 
Mr. Lynn. He would never consider the Dares a desirable family 
for her to marry into " 

" Marry into the family of the Dares !" interrupted Patience hotly. 
" Art thee losing thy senses, William ? " 

"These likings sometimes lead to marriage," quietly continued 
William. "Therefore, I say, keep her away from all chance of 
forming them. Believe me, my advice is good." 

" I think I understand," concluded Patience. " I thank thee 
kindly, William." 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

LOOKING INTO THE SHOP WINDOWS, 

A VERY unpleasant part of the story has now to be touched upon. 
Unpleasant things occur in real life, and if true pictures have to be 
given of the world as it exists, as it goes on its round, day by day, 
allusion to them cannot be wholly avoided. 

Certain words of William Halliburton to Patience had run in 
this fashion : " Were Anna to be drawn into a liking for Herbert 
Dare, I am sure it would not be agreeable to Mr. Lynn. He would 
never consider the Dares a desirable family for her to marry into." 
In thus speaking, William had striven to put the case in a polite 
sort of form to the ears of Patience. As to any probability of 
marriage between one of the Dares and Anna Lynn, he would 



LOOKING INTO THE SHOP WINDOWS. 



277 



scarcely have believed it within the range of possibility. The 
Dares, one and all, would have considered Anna far beneath them 
in position, while the difference of religion would on Anna's side be 
an almost insurm ountable objection. The worst that William had 
contemplated was the " liking" he had hinted at. He cared for 
Anna's welfare as he would have cared for a sister's, and he believed 
it would not contribute to her happiness that she should become 
attached to Herbert Dare. But for compromising Anna — and he 
had given his word not to do it — he would have spoken out openly, 
that there was a danger of this liking coming to pass, if she met 
him as he feared she had been in the habit of doing. Certainly he 
would not have alluded to the remote possibility of marriage, the 
mention of which had so scared Patience. 

What had William thought, what had Patience said, could they 
have known that this liking was already implanted in Anna's heart 
beyond recall ? Alas ! that it should have been so ! Quiet, childish, 
timid as Anna outwardly appeared, the strongest affection had 
been aroused in her heart for Herbert Dare — was filling its every 
crevice. These apparently shy, sensitive natures are sometimes only 
the more passionate and wayward within. One evening a few 
months previously, Anna was walking in Atterly's Field, behind 
their house. Anna had been in the habit of walking there — nay, 
of playing there — since she was a child, and she would as soon have 
associated harm with their garden as with that field. Farmer 
Atterly kept his sheep in it, and Anna had run about with the 
lambs as long as she could remember. Herbert Dare came up 
accidentally — the path through it, leading along at the back of the 
houses, was public, though not much frequented — and he spoke to 
Anna. Anna knew him to say " Good day" when she passed him 
in the street ; and she now and then saw him at Mrs. Ashley's. 
Herbert stayed talking with her a few minutes, and then went on 
his way. 

Somehow, from that time, he and Anna encountered each other 
there pretty frequently ; and that was how the liking had grown. 
If a qualm of conscience crossed Miss Anna at times that it 
was not quite the thing for a young lady to do, thus to meet a 
gentleman in secret, she conveniently put the qualm away. That 
harm should arise from it in any way, never so much as crossed 
her mind for a moment ; and to do Herbert Dare justice, real harm 
was probably as far from his mind as from hers. 

He grew to like her, almost as she liked him. Herbert Dare did 
not, in the sight of Helstonleigh, stand out as a model of all the 
cardinal virtues ; but he was not all bad. Anna believed him all 
good — all honour, truth, excellence; and her heart had flashed 
out a rebuke to William when he hinted that Herbert was not 
exactly a paragon. She only knew that the very sound of his foot- 
step made her heart leap with happiness ; she only knew that to her 
he appeared everything that was bright and fascinating. Her great 
dread wag, lest their intimacy should become known ? and separa- 



278 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



tion ensue. That separation would be inevitable, were her father 
or Patience to become cognizant of it, Anna rightly believed. 

Cunning little sophist that she was ! She would fain persuade 
herself that an innocent meeting out of doors was justifiable, where 
a meeting indoors was not practicable. They had no acquaintance 
with the Dares; consequently, Herbert could plead no excuse for 
calling in upon them— none at least that would be likely to carry 
weight with Patience. And so the young lady reconciled her con- 
science in the best way she could, stole out as often as she was able 
to meet him, and left discovery to take care of itself. 

Discovery came in the shape of William Halliburton. It was bad 
enough; but far less alarming to Anna than it might have been. 
Had her father dropped upon her, she would have run away and 
fallen into the nearest pond, in her terror and consternation. 

Though guilty of certain trifling inaccuracies — such as protesting 
that she " did not care" for Herbert Dare— Anna, in that interview 
with William, fully meant to keep the promise she made, not to 
meet him again. Promises, however, given under the influence of 
terror or other sudden emotion, are not always kept. It would 
probably prove so with Anna's. One thing was indisputable — that 
where a mind could so far forget its moral rectitude as to practise 
deceit in one particular, as Anna was doing, it would not be very 
scrupulous to keep its better promises. 

Anna's thoughts for many a morning latterly, when she arose, 
had been " This evening I shall see him," and the prospect seemed 
to quicken her fingers, as it quickened her heart. But on the 
morning after the discovery, her first thought was, " I must never 
see him again as I have done. How shall I warn him not to come?" 
That he would be in the field again that evening, unless warned, 
she knew: if William Halliburton saw him there, a quarrel might 
ensue between them ; at any rate, an unpleasant scene. Anna 
came down, feeling cross and petulant, and inclined to wish William 
had been at the bottom of the sea before he had found out what he 
did the previous evening. 

"Where there's a will, there's a way," it is said. Anna Lynn 
contrived that day to exemplify it. Her will was set upon seeing 
Herbert Dare, and she did see him : it can scarcely be said by acci- 
dent. Anna contrived to be sent into the town by Patience on an 
errand, and she managed to linger so long in the neighbourhood of 
Mr. Dare's office, gazing in at the shops in West Street (if Patience 
had only seen her !), that Herbert Dare passed. 

" Anna ! " 

" Herbert, I have been waiting in the hope of seeing thee," she 
whispered, her manner timid as a fawn, her pretty cheeks blushing. 
" Thee must not come again in the evening, for I cannot meet thee." 

" Why so ? " asked Herbert. 

" William Halliburton saw me with thee last night, and he says 
it is not right. I had to give him my promise not to meet thee 
again, or else he would have told my father." 



LOOKING INTO THE SHOP WINDOWS. 



279 



Herbert cast a word to William ; not a complimentary one. 
" What business is it of his ? " he asked. 

" I dare not stay talking to thee, Herbert. Patience will be likely 
sending Grace after me, finding me so long away. But I was 
obliged to tell thee this, lest thee should be coming again. Fare 
thee well!" 

Passing swiftly from him, Anna went on her way. Herbert did 
not choose to follow her in the open street. She went along, poor 
child, with her head down and her eyelashes glistening. It was 
little else than bitter sorrow thus to part with Herbert Dare. 

Patience was standing at the door, looking out for her when she 
came in sight of home. Patience had given little heed to what 
William Halliburton had said the previous night, or she might not 
have sent Anna into Helstonleigh alone. In point of fact, Patience 
had thought William a little fanciful. But when, instead of being 
home at four o'clock, as she ought to have been, the clock struck 
five, and she had not made her appearance, Patience began to think 
she did let her have her liberty too much. 

" Now, where hast thee been ? " was Patience's salutation, delivered 
in icy tones. 

" I met so many people, Patience. They stayed to talk with 
me." 

Brushing past Patience, deaf to her subsequent reproofs, Anna 
flew up to her own room. When she came down, her father had 
entered, and Patience was pouring out the tea. 

" Wilt thee tell thy father where thee hast been ? " 

The command was delivered in Patience's driest tone. Anna, 
inwardly tormented, outwardly vexed, burst into tears. The Quaker 
looked up in surprise. 

Patience explained. Anna had left home at three o'clock to 
execute a little commission : she might well have been home in three- 
quarters of an hour, and she had only made her appearance now. 

" What kept thee, child ? " asked her father. 

" I only looked in at a shop or two," pleaded Anna, through her 
tears. " There were the prettiest new engravings in at Thomas 
Woakam's ! If Patience had wanted me to run both ways, she should 
have said so." 

Notwithstanding the little spice of impertinence peeping out in the 
last sentence, Samuel Lynn saw no reason to correct Anna. That 
she could ever be wrong, he scarcely admitted to his own heart. 
" Dry thy tears, child, and take thy tea," said he. " Patience wanted 
thee, maybe, tor some household matter ; it can wait another oppor- 
tunity. Patience," he added, as if to drown the sound of his words 
and their remembrance, " are my shirts in order ? " 

" Thy shirts in order ? " repeated Patience. " Why dost thee ask 
that ? " 

" I should not have asked it without reason," returned he. "Wilt 
thee please give me an answer ? " 

" The old shirts are as much in order as things, beginning to wear, 



28o MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



can be," replied Patience. " Thy new shirts I cannot say much about. 
They will not be finished this side Midsummer, unless Anna sits to 
them a little closer than she is doing now." 

" Thy shirts will be ready quite in time, father ; before the old 
ones are gone beyond wearing," spoke up Anna. 

" I don't know that," said Mr. Lynn. " Had they been ready, child, 
I might have wanted them now. I am going a journey." 

" Is it the French journey thee hast talked of once or twice lately ? " 
interposed Patience. 

" Yes," said Samuel Lynn. " The master was speaking to me 
about it this afternoon. We were interrupted, and I did not alto- 
gether gather when he wishes me to start ; but I fancy it will be 
immediately " 

" Oh, father ! couldst thee not take me ? " 

The interruption came from Anna. Her blue eyes were glistening, 
her cheeks were crimson ; a journey to the interior of France wore 
charms for her as great as it did for Cyril Dare. All the way home 
from West Street, she had been thinking how she should spend her 
miserable home days, debarred of the evening snatches of Mr. 
Herbert's charming society. Going to France would be something. 

" I wish I could take thee, child ! But thee art aware thee might 
as well ask me to take the Malvern Hills." 

In her inward conviction, Anna believed she might. Before she 
could oppose any answering, but most useless argument, Samuel 
Lynn's attention was directed to the road. Parting opposite to his 
house, at if they had just walked together from the manufactory, 
were Mr. Ashley and William Halliburton. The master walked 
on. William, catching Samuel Lynn's eye, came across and 
entered. 

Mr. Ashley had been telling William some news. Though no vacil- 
lating man in a general way, it appeared that he had again recon- 
sidered his determination with regard to despatching William to 
France. He had come to the resolve to send him, as well as Samuel 
Lynn. William could not help surmising that his betrayed emotion 
the previous night, his fears touching Mr. Ashley's reason for not 
sending him, may have had something to do with that gentleman's 
change of mind. 

" Will you be troubled with me ? " asked he of Mr. Lynn, when 
he had imparted this to him. 

"If such be the master's fiat, I cannot help being troubled with 
thee," was the answer of Samuel Lynn; but the tone of his voice 
spoke of anything rather than dissatisfaction. " Why is he sending 
thee as well as myself?" 

" He told me he thought it might be best that you should show 
me the markets, and introduce me to the skin merchants, as I should 
probably have to make the journey alone in future," replied William. 
" I had no idea, until the master mentioned it now, that you had 
ever made the journey yourself, Mr. Lynn ; you never told me." 

" There was nothing, that I am aware of. to call for the informa- 



PATIENCE COME TO GRIEF. 



281 



tion," observed the Quaker, in his usual dry manner. " I went there 
two or three times on my own account when I was in business for 
myself. Did the master tell thee when he should expect us to 
start ? " 

" Not precisely. The beginning of the week, I think." 

" I have been asking my father if he cannot take me," put in Anna, 
in a plaintive tone, looking at William. 

" And I have answered her, that she may as well ask me to take 
the Malvern Hills," was the rejoinder of Samuel Lynn. " I could 
as likely take the one as the other." 

Likely or unlikely, Samuel Lynn would have taken her beyond all 
doubt — taken her with a greedy, sheltering grasp — had he foreseen 
the result of leaving her at home, the grievous trouble that was to fall 
upon her head. 

" Thee wilt drink a dish of tea with us this evening, William?" 

It was Patience who spoke. William hesitated, but he saw they 
would be pleased at his doing so, and he sat down. The conversa- 
tion turned upon France — upon Samuel Lynn's experiences, and 
William's anticipations. Anna lapsed into silence and abstraction. 

In the bustle of moving, when Samuel Lynn was departing for the 
manufactory, William, before going home to his books, contrived to 
obtain a word alone with Anna. 

u Have you thought of our compact ?" 

" Yes," she said, freely meeting his eyes, in honest truth. " I saw 
him this afternoon in the street ; I went on purpose to try and meet 
him. He will not come again." 

" That is well. Mind and take care of yourself, Anna," he added, 
with a smile. " I shall be away, and not able to give an eye to you, 
as I freely confess it had been my resolve to do." 

Anna shook her head. " He does not come again," she repeated. 
u Thee may go away believing me, William." 

And William did go away believing her — went away to France 
putting faith in her ; thinking that the undesirable intimacy was at 
an end for ever. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

PATIENCE COME TO GRIEF. 

In the early part of March, Samuel Lynn and William departed on 
the journey to France. And the first thought that occurred to 
Patience afterwards was one that is apt to occur to many thrifty 
housekeepers on the absence of the master — that of instituting a 
thorough cleansing of the house, from garret to cellar ; or, as Anna 
mischievously expressed it, " turning the house inside out." She 
knew Patience did not like her wild phrases, and therefore she used 
them, 



282 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Patience was parting with Grace — the servant who had been with 
them so many years. Grace had resolved to get married. In vain 
Patience assured her that marriage, generally speaking, was found 
to be nothing better than a bed of thorns. Grace would not listen. 
Others had risked the thorns before her, and she thought she must 
try her chance with the rest. Patience had no resource but to fall 
in with the decision, and to look out for another servant. It appeared 
that she could not readily find one ; at least, one whom she would 
venture to engage. She was unusually particular ; and while she 
waited and looked out, she engaged Hester Dell, a humble member 
of her own persuasion, to come in temporarily. Hester lived with 
her aged mother, not far off, chiefly supporting herself by doing fine 
needlework at her own, or at the Friends' houses. She readily con- 
sented to take up her abode with Patience for a month or so, to help 
with the housework, and looked upon it as a sort of holiday. 

" It's of no use to begin the house until Grace shall be gone," 
observed Patience to Anna. " She'd likely be scrubbing the paper 
on the walls, instead of the paint, for her head is turned just now." 

" What fun, if she should ! " ejaculated Anna. 

" Fun for thee, perhaps, who art ignorant of cost and labour," 
rebuked Patience. " I shall wait until Grace has departed. The day 
that she goes, Hester comes in; and I shall have the house begun 
the day following." 

" Couldn't thee have it begun the same day ? " saucily asked 
Anna. 

" Will thee attend to thy stitching ? " returned Patience sharply. 
" Thy father's wristbands will not be done the better for thy non- 
sense." 

" Shall I be turned out of my bedroom ? " resumed Anna. 

" For a night, perchance. Thee canst go into thy father's. But the 
top of the house will be done first." 

" Is the roof to be scrubbed ? " went on Anna. " I don't know how 
Hester will hold on while she does it." 

" Thee art in one of thy wilful humours this morning," responded 
Patience. " Art thee going to set me at defiance now thy father's 
back is turned ? " 

" Who said anything about setting thee at defiance ? " asked Anna. 
" I should Wkz to see Hester scrubbing the roof!" 

"Thee hadst better behave thyself, Anna," was theretort of Patience. 
And Anna, in her lighthearted wilfulness, burst into a merry laugh. 

Grace departed, and Hester came in : a quiet little body, of forty 
years, with dark hair and defective teeth. Patience, as good as her 
word, was up betimes the following morning, and had the house up 
betimes, to institute the ceremony. Their house contained the same 
accommodation as did Mrs. Halliburton's, with this addition — that 
the garret in the Quaker's had beempartitioned off into two chambers. 
Patience slept in one ; Grace had occupied the other. The three bed- 
rooms on the floor beneath were used, one by Mr. Lynn, one by 
Anna ; the other was kept as a spare room, for any chance visitor ; 



PATIENCE COME TO GRIEF. 



283 



the " best room, it was usually called. The house belonged to Mr. 
Lynn. Formerly, both houses had belonged to him ; but at the time 
of his loss he had sold the other to Mr. Ashley. 

The ablutions were in full play. Hester, with a pail, mop, and 
scrubbing-brush, and other essentials, was ensconced in the top 
chambers ; Anna, ostensibly at her wristband stitching (but the work 
did not get on very fast), was singing to herself, in an undertone, in 
one of the parlours, the door safely shut ; while Patience was exer- 
cising a general superintendence, giving an eye everywhere. Suddenly 
there echoed a loud noise, as of a fall, and a scream resounded 
throughout the house. It appeared to come from what they usually 
called the bedroom floor. Anna flew up the stairs, and Hester Dell 
flew down the upper ones. At the foot of the garret stairs, her head 
against the door of Anna's chamber, lay Patience and a heavy bed- 
pole. In attempting to carry the pole down from her room, she had 
somehow become entangled with it, and had fallen heavily. 

"Is the house coming down ? " Anna was beginning to say. But 
she stopped in consternation when she saw Patience. Hester 
attempted to pick her up. 

" Thee cannot raise me, Hester. Anna, child, thee must not 
attempt to touch me. I fear my leg is br " 

Her voice died away, her eyes closed, and a hue, as of death, 
overspread her countenance. Anna, more terrified than she had 
ever been in her life, flew round to Mrs. Halliburton's. 

Dobbs, from her kitchen, saw her coming — saw the young face 
streaming with tears, heard the short cries of alarm — and Dobbs 
stepped out. 

" Why, what on earth's the matter now ? " asked she. 

Anna seized Dobbs, and clung to her; partly that, to do so, 
seemed some protection in her great terror. " Oh, Dobbs, come in 
to Patience ! " she cried. " I think she's dying." 

The voice reached the ears of Jane. She came forth from the 
parlour. Dobbs was then running in to Samuel Lynn's, and Jane 
ran also, understanding nothing. 

Patience was reviving when they entered. All her cry was, that 
they must not move her. One of her legs was in some manner 
doubled under her, and doubled over the pole. Jane felt a convic- 
tion that it was broken. 

"Who can run fastest?" she asked. " We must have Mr. Parry 
here." 

Hester waited for no further instruction. She caught up her 
fawn-coloured Quaker shawl and grey bonnet, and was off, putting 
them on as she ran. Anna, sobbing wildly, turned and hid her 
face on Jane, as one who wants to be comforted. Then, her mood 
changing, she threw herself down beside Patience, the tears from 
her own eyes falling on Patience's face. 

" Patience, dear Patience, canst thee forgive me ? I have been 
wilful and naughty, but I never meant to cross thee really. I did 
it only to tease thee ; I loved thee all the while." 



284 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Patience, suffering as she was, drew down the repentant face to 
kiss it fervently. " I know it, dear child ; I know thee. Don't thee 
distress thyself for me." 

Mr. Parry came, and Patience was carried into the spare room. 
Her leg was broken, and badly broken ; the surgeon called it a 
compound fracture. 

So there was an end to the grand cleansing scheme for a long 
time to come! Patience lay in sickness and pain, and Hester had 
to make her her first care. Anna's spirits revived in a day or two. 
Mr. Parry said a cure would be effected in time ; that the worst of 
the business was the long confinement for Patience ; and Anna 
forgot her dutiful fit of repentance. Patience would be well again, 
would be about as before; and, as to the present confinement, Anna 
rather grew to look upon it as the interposition of some good fairy, 
who must have taken her own liberty under its special protection. 

Whether Anna would have succeeded in eluding the vigilance of 
Patience up cannot be told ; she certainly did that of Patience 
dow7i. Anna had told Herbert Dare that he was not to pay a visit 
to Atterly's field again, or expect her to pay one; but Herbert Dare 
was about the last person to obey such advice. Had William 
Halliburton remained to be— as Herbert termed it— a treacherous 
spy, there's no doubt that Herbert would have striven to set 
his vigilance at defiance : with William's absence, the field, both 
literally and figuratively, was open to him. In the absence of Samuel 
Lynn, it was doubly open. Herbert Dare knew perfectly well that 
if the Quaker once gained the slightest inkling of his secret acquaint- 
ance with Anna, it would effectually be put a stop to. To wear a 
cloak resembling William Halliburton's, on his visits to the field, 
had been the result of a bright idea. It had suddenly occurred to 
Mr. Herbert, that if the Quaker's lynx eyes did by mischance catch 
sight of the cloak, promenading some fine night at the back of his 
residence, they would accord it no particular notice, concluding the 
wearer to be William Halliburton taking a moonlight stroll at the 
back of his residence. Nevertheless, Herbert had timed his visits 
so as to make pretty sure that Samuel Lynn was beyond view, 
safely ensconced in Mr. Ashley's manufactory ; and he had generally 
succeeded. Not quite always, as the reader knows. 

Anna was of a most persuadable nature. In defiance of her 
promise to William, she suffered Herbert Dare to persuade her 
again into the old system of meeting him. Guileless as a child, 
never giving thought to wrong or to harm — beyond the wrong and 
harm of thus clandestinely stealing out, and that wrong she con- 
veniently ignored — she saw nothing very grave in doing it. Herbert 
could not come indoors ; Patience would be sure not to welcome 
him; and therefore, she logically argued to her own mind, she must 
go out to him. 

She had learnt to like Herbert Dare a great deal too well not to 
wish to meet him, to talk with him. Herbert, on his part, had 
learnt to like her. An hour passed in whispering to Anna, in nii§» 



Patience come to grIef. 285 



chievously untying her sober cap, and letting the curls fall, in laying 
his own hand fondly on the young head, and telling her he cared 
for her beyond every earthly thing. It had grown to be one of his 
most favourite recreations : and Herbert was hot one to deny him- 
self any recreation that he took a fancy to. He intended no harm 
to the pretty child. It is possible that, had any one seriously 
pointed out to him the harm that might arise to Anna, in the esti- 
mation of Helstonleigh, should these stolen meetings be found out, 
Herbert might for once have done violence to his inclinations, and 
not have persisted in them. Unfortunately — very unfortunately, as 
it was to turn out — there was no one to give this word of caution. 
Patience was ill, William was away : and no one else knew anything 
about it. In point of fact, Patience could not be said to know any- 
thing, for William's warning had not made the impression upon her 
that it ought to have done. Patience's confiding nature was in 
fault. For Anna deliberately to meet Herbert Dare or any other 
" Herbert " in secret, she would have deemed a simple impossibility. 
In the judgment of Patience, it had been nothing less than irre- 
deemable sin. 

What did Herbert Dare promise to himself, in thus leading Anna 
into this imprudence? Herbert promised himself nothing — beyond 
the passing gratification of the hour. Herbert had never been one 
to give any care to the future, for himself or for any one else ; and 
he was not likely to begin to do it at present. As to seeking Anna 
for his wife, such a thought had never crossed his mind. In the 
first place, at the rate the Dares — Herbert and his brothers — were 
going on, a wife for any of them seemed amongst the impossibilities. 
Unless, indeed, she made the bargain beforehand, to live upon air ; 
there was no chance of their having anything else to live upon. 
But, had Herbert been in a position, pecuniarily considered, to 
marry ten wives, Anna Lynn would not have been one of them. 
Agreeable as it might be to him to linger with Anna, he considered 
her far beneath himself; and pride, with Herbert, was always in 
the ascendant. Herbert had been introduced to Anna Lynn at 
Mrs. Ashley's, and that threw a sort of prestige around her. She 
was also enshrined in the respectable Quaker body of the town. 
But for these facts, for being who she was, Herbert might have 
been less scrupulous in his hehaviour towards her. He would not 
• — it may be as well to say he dared not — be otherwise than con- 
siderate towards Anna Lynn ; but, on the other hand, he would not 
have considered her worthy to become his wife. On the part of 
Samuel Lynn, he would far rather have seen his child in her coffin, 
than the wife of Herbert Dare. The young Dares did not bear a 
good name in Helstonleigh. 

In this most uncertain and unsatisfactory state of things, what 
on earth — as Dobbs had said to Anna — did Herbert want with her 
at all ? Far, far better that he had allowed Anna to fall in with 
the sensible advice of William Halliburton — " Do not meet him 
again." It was a sad pity ; and it is very probable that Herbert 



286 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Dare regretted it afterwards, in the grievous misery it entailed. 
Misery to both; and without positive ill conduct on the part of 
either. 

But that time has not yet come, and we are only at the stage of 
Samuel Lynn's absence and Patience's broken leg. Anna had 
taken to steal out again ; and her wits were at work to concoct a 
plausible excuse for her absences to Hester Dell, that no tales might 
be carried to Patience. 

" Hester, Patience is a fidget. Thee must see that. She would like 
me to keep at my work all day, all day, evening too, and never 
have a breath of fresh air ! She'd like me to shut myself up in this 
parlour, as she has now to be shut up in her room ; never to be in 
the garden in the lovely twilight; never to run and look at the 
pretty lambs in the field; never to go next door, and say 'How 
dost thee ? ' to Jane Halliburton ! It's a shame, Hester ! " 

" Well, I think it would be, if it were true," responded Hester, a 
simple woman in mind and speech, who loved Anna almost as well 
as did Patience. " But dost thee not think thee art mistaken, 
child? Patience seems anxious that thee should go out. She says 
I am to take thee," 

" I dare say ! " responded Anna ; " and leave her all alone ! How 
would she come downstairs with her broken leg, if any one knocked 
at the door? She's a dreadful fidget, Hester. She'd like to watch 
me as a cat watches a mouse. Look at last night ! It's all on 
account of these shirts. She thinks I shan't get them done. I 
shall." 

" Why, dear, I think thee wilt," returned Hester, casting her eyes 
on the work. " Thee art getting on with them." 

" I am getting on nicely. I have done all the stitching, and 
nearly the plain part of the bodies ; I shall soon be at the gathers. 
What did she say to thee last night ? " 

" She said, ' Go to the parlour, Hester, and see whether Anna 
does not want a light.' And I came and could not find thee. 
And then she said thee wast always running into the next door, 
troubling them, and she would not have it done. Thee came in 
just at the time, and she scolded thee." 

" Yes, she did," resentfully spoke Anna. " I tell thee, Hester, 
she's the worst fidget breathing. I give thee my word, Hester, 
that I had not been inside the Halliburtons' door. I had been 
in this garden and in the field. I had been close at work all 
day " 

" Not quite all day, dear," interrupted Hester, willing to smooth 
matters to the child as far as she was able. " Thee hadst thy friend 
Mary Ashley here to call in the morning, and thee hadst Sarah 
Dixon in the afternoon." 

"Well, I had been at work a good part of the day," corrected 
Anna, "and I wanted some fresh air after it. Where's the 
crime?" 

" Crime, dear! It's only natural. If I had not my errands to go 



THE GOVERNESS'S EXPEDITION. 



287 



Upon, and so take the air that way, I should like myself to run to the 
field, when my work was done." 

" So would any one else, except Patience," retorted Anna. 
" Hester, look thee. When she asks after me again, thee hast no 
need to tell her, should I have run out. It only fidgets her, and she 
is not well enough to be fidgeted. Thee tell her I am at my sewing. 
But I can't be sewing for ever, Hester; I must have a few minutes' 
holiday from it now and then. Patience might have cause to 
grumble if I ran away and left it in the day." 

"Well, dear, I think it is only reasonable," slowly answered 
Hester, considering the matter over. " I'll not tell her thee art in 
the garden again ; for she must be kept tranquil, friend Parry 
says." 

" She was just as bad when I was a little girl, Hester," concluded 
Anna. " She wouldn't let me run in the garden alone then, for 
fear I should eat the gooseberries. But it is not gooseberry season 
now." 

" All quite true and reasonable," thought Hester Dell. 

And so the young lady contrived to enjoy a fair share of evening 
liberty. Not but that she would have done with more, had she 
known how to get it. And as the weeks went on, and the cold 
weather of early spring merged into summer days, into more genial 
nights, she and Herbert Dare grew bold in their immunity from 
discovery, and scarcely an evening passed but they might have 
been seen, had any one been on the watch, in Farmer Atterly's 
field. Anna had reached the point of taking his arm now ; and 
there they would pace under cover of the hedge, Herbert talking, 
and Anna dreaming that she was in Eden. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE GOVERNESS'S EXPEDITION. 

HERBERT DARE sat enjoying the beauty of the April evening in the 
garden of Pomeranian Knoll. He was hoisted on the back of 
a garden bench, and balanced himself astride it, the tip of one toe 
resting on the seat, the other foot dangling. The month was 
drawing to its close, and the beams of the setting sun streamed 
athwart Herbert's face. It might be supposed that he had seated 
himself there to bask in the soft, still air, and lovely sunset. In 
point of fact, he hardly knew whether the sun was rising or setting 
— whether the evening was fair or foul — so buried was he in deep 
thought and perplexing care. 

The particular care which was troubling Herbert Dare, was one 
which has, at some time or other, troubled the peace of a great 
many of us. It was pecuniary embarrassment. Herbert had been 
in it for a long time ; had, in fact, been sinking into it deeper and 



288 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



deeper. He had managed to ward it off hitherto in some way of 
other ; but the time to do that much longer was going by. He was 
not given to forethought, it has been previously mentioned ; but he 
could not conceal from himself that unpleasantness would ensue, 
and that speedily, unless something could be done. What was that 
something to be? He did not know; he could not imagine. His 
father protested that he had not the means to help him ; and Her- 
bert believed that Mr. Dare spoke truth. Not that Mr. Dare knew 
of the extent of the embarrassment. Had he done so, it would 
have come to the same thing, so far as his help went. His sons, as 
he said, had drained him to the utmost. 

Anthony passed the end of the walk. Whether he saw Herbert 
or not, certain it was, that he turned away from his direction. 
Herbert lifted his eyes, an angry light in them. He lifted his voice 
also, angry, too. 

"Here, you! Don't go skulking off because you see me sitting 
here. I want you." 

Anthony was taken to. It is more than probable that he was 
skulking off, and that he had seen Herbert, for he did not par- 
ticularly care then to come into contact with his brother. Anthony 
was in embarrassment on his own score ; was ill at ease from more 
causes than one ; and when the mind is troubled, sharp words do 
not tend to soothe it. Little else than sharp words had been 
exchanged latterly between Anthony and Herbert Dare. 

It was no temporary ill-feeling, vexed to-day, pleased to-morrow, 
which had grown up between them ; the ill-will had existed a long 
time. Herbert believed that his brother had injured him, had 
wilfully played him false, and his heart bitterly resented it. That 
Anthony was in fault at the beginning, was undoubted. He had 
drawn Herbert unsuspiciously — unsuspiciously on Herbert's part, 
you understand — into some mess with regard to bills. Anthony 
was fond of " bills;" Herbert, more wise in that respect, had never 
meddled with them : his opinion coincided with his father's : they 
were edged tools, which cut both ways. " Eschew bills if you want 
to die upon your own bed," was a saying of Mr. Dare's, frequently 
uttered for the benefit of his sons. Good advice, no doubt. Mr. 
Dare, as a lawyer, ought to know. Herbert had held by the 
advice ; Anthony never had ; and the time came when Anthony 
took care that his brother should not. 

In a period oi deep embarrassment for Anthony, he had per- 
suaded Herbert to sign two bills for him, their aggregate amount 
being large ; assuring him, in the most earnest and apparently 
truthful manner, that the money to meet them, when due, was 
already provided. Herbert, in his good nature, fell into the snare. 
It turned out not only that the bills were not met at all, but 
Anthony had so contrived it that Herbert should be responsible, 
not he himself. Herbert regarded it as a shameful piece of treachery, 
and never ceased to reproach his brother. Anthony, who was of 
a sullen, morose temper, resented the reproach ; and they did not 



THE GOVERNESS'S EXPEDITION. 289 



lead together the happiest of lives. The bills were not settled yet ; 
indeed, they formed part of Herbert's most pressing embarrassments. 
This was one cause of the ill-feeling between them, and there were 
others, of a different nature. Anthony and Herbert Dare had never 
been cordial with each other, even in childhood. 

Anthony, called by Herbert, advanced. "Who wants to skulk 
away?" asked he. " Are you judging me by yourself? " 

" I hope not," returned Herbert, in a tone of the most withering 
contempt and scorn. " Listen to me. I've told you five hundred 
times that I'll have some settlement, and if you don't come to it 
amicably, I'll force you to it. Do you hear, you? I'll force you 
to it." 

" Try it," retorted Anthony, with a mocking laugh ; and he coolly 
walked away. 

Walked away, leaving Herbert in a towering rage. He felt 
inclined to follow him ; to knock him down. Had Anthony only 
met the affair in a proper spirit, it had been different. Had he 
said, " Herbert, I am uncommonly vexed — I'll see what can be 
done," or words to that effect, half the sting in his brother's mind 
would have been removed ; but, to taunt Herbert with having to 
pay — as he sometimes did — was almost unbearable. Had Herbert 
been of Anthony's temper, he would have proved that it was quite 
unbearable. 

But Herbert's temper was roused now. It was the toss of a die 
whether he followed Anthony and struck him down, or whether he 
did not. The die was cast by the appearance of Signora Varsini ; 
and Anthony, for that evening, escaped. 

It was not very gallant of Herbert to remain where he was, in 
the presence of the governess, astride upon the garden bench. 
Herbert was feeling angry in no ordinary degree, and this may 
have been his excuse. She came up, apparently in anger also. 
Her brow was frowning, her compressed mouth was drawn in until 
its lips were hidden. 

There is good advice in the old song or saying : " It is well to 
be off with the old love, before you are on with the new." As good 
advice as that of Mr. Dare's, relative to the bills. Herbert might 
have sung it in character. He should have made things square 
with the Signora Varsini, before entering too extensively on his 
friendship with Anna Lynn. 

Not that the governess could be supposed to occupy any posi- 
tion in the mind or heart of Herbert Dare, except as governess, 
governess to his sisters. Herbert would probably have said so, 
had you asked him. What she might have said, is a different 
matter. She looks angry enough to say anything just now. The 
fact appeared to be — so far as any one not personally interested 
in the matter could be supposed to gather it — that Herbert had 
latterly given offence to the governess, by not going to the school- 
room for what he called his Italian lessons. Of course he could 
not be in two places at once ; and if his leisure hour after dinner 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 19 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



was spent in Atteiiy's field, it was impossible that he could be in 
the school-room, learning Italian of the governess. But she resented 
it as a slight. She was of an exacting nature ; probably of a jealous 
nature; and she regarded it as a personal slight, and resented it 
bitterly. She had been rather abrupt in speech and manner to 
Herbert, in consequence ; and that, he resented. But, being 
naturally of an easy temper, Herbert was no friend to unnecessary 
disputes. He tried what he could towards soothing the young 
lady ; and, finding he effected no good in that way, he adopted the 
other alternative — he shunned her. The governess perceived this, 
and worked herself up into a state of semi-fury. 

She came down upon him in full sail. The moment Herbert saw 
her, he remembered having given her a half-promise the previous 
day to pay her a visit that evening. " Now for it," thought he to 
himself. 

" Why you keep me waiting like this ? " began she, when she was 
close to him. 

"Have I kept you waiting?" civilly returned Herbert. "I am 
very sorry. The fact is, mademoiselle, I have a good deal of 
worry upon me, and I'm fit for nobody's company but my own 
to-night. You might not have thanked me for my visit, had I come." 

"That is my own look-out," replied the governess. "When a 
gentleman makes a promise to me, I expect him to keep it. I go 
up to the school-room, and I wait, I wait, I wait ! Ah, my poor 
patience, how I wait! I have that copy of Tasso, that you said 
you would like to see. Will you come ? n 

Herbert thought he was in for it. He glanced at the setting 
sun — at least, at the spot where the sun had gone down, for it 
had sunk below the horizon, leaving only crimson streaks in the 
grey sky to tell of what had been. Twilight was rapidly coming 
on, when he would depart to pay his usual evening visit : there was 
no time, he decided, for Tasso and the governess. 

" I'll come another evening," said he. " I have an engagement, 
and I must go out to keep it." 

A stony hardness settled on the young lady's face. " What 
engagement? " she imperatively demanded. 

It might be thought that Herbert would have been justified in 
civilly declining to satisfy her curiosity. What was it to her? 
Apparently he thought otherwise. Possibly he was afraid of an 
outbreak. 

" What engagement ! Oh— I am going to play a pool at billiards 
with Lord Hawkesley. He is in Helstonleigh again." 

" And that is what you go for, every evening, — to play billiards 
with Lord Hawkesley?" she resumed, her eyes glistening ominously. 

" Of course it is, mademoiselle. With Hawkesley or other 
fellows." 

" A lie ! " curtly responded mademoiselle. 

" I say," cried Herbert, laughing good-humouredly : "do you call 
that orthodox language ? " 



THE GOVERNESS'S EXPEDITION. 291 



" It nothing to you what I call it," she cried, clipping her words 
in her vehemence, as she would do when excited. " It not with 
Milord Hawkesley, not to billiards that you go ! I know it is 
not." 

" Then I tell you that I often play billiards," cried Herbert. " On 
my honour I do." 

" May-be, may-be," answered she, very rapidly. " But it not to 
billiards that you go every evening. Every evening ! — every even- 
ing ! Not an evening now, but you go out, you go out ! I bought 
Tasso — do you know that I bought Tasso ? — that I have bought it 
with my money, that you may have the pleasure of hearing me read 
it, as you said — as you call it ? Should I spend the money, had I 
thought you would not come when I had it — would not care to hear 
it read ? " 

Had she been in a more amiable mood, Herbert would have told 
her that she was a simpleton for spending her money ; he would 
have told her that Tasso, read in the original, would have been 
to him unintelligible as Sanscrit. He had a faint remembrance 
of saying to mademoiselle that he should like to read Tasso, in 
answer to a remark that Tasso was her favourite of the Italian 
poets : but he had only made the observation carelessly, without 
seriously meaning anything. And she had been so foolish as to go 
and buy it ! 

" Will you come this evening and hear it begun ? " she continued, 
breaking the pause, and speaking rather more graciously. 

" Upon my word of honour, Bianca, I can't to-night," he answered, 
feeling himself, between the two — the engagement made, and the 
engagement sought to be made — somewhat embarrassed. " I will 
come another evening ; you may depend upon me." 

" You say to me yesterday that you would come this evening ; 
that I might depend upon you. Much you care! " 

" But I could not help myself. An engagement arose, and I was 
obliged to fall in with it. I was, indeed. I'll hear Tasso another 
evening." 

" You will not break your paltry engagement at billiards to keep 
your word to a lady ! C'est bien ! " r 

" It — it is not altogether that," replied Herbert, getting out of 
the reproach in the best way he could. " I have some business 
as well." 

She fastened her glistening eyes upon him. There was an expres- 
sion in them which Herbert neither understood nor liked. " C'est 
tres bien ! " she slowly repeated. " I know where you are going, and 
for what ! " 

A smile — at her assumed knowledge, and what it was worth — 
flitted over Herbert Dare's face. " You are very wise," said he. 

" Take care of yourself, mon ami ! C'est tout ce que je vous dis." 

" Now, mademoiselle, what is the matter, that you should look 
and speak in that manner?" he asked, still in the same good- 
humoured tone, as if he would fain pass the affair away in a joke. 



292 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" I'm sure I have enough bother upon me, without your adding 
to it." 

" What is your bother ? " 

" Never mind : it would give you no pleasure to know it. It is 
caused by Anthony — -and be hanged to him ! " 

" Anthony is worth ten of you ! " fiercely responded mademoiselle. 

"Every one to his own liking," carelessly remarked Herbert. 
" It's well for me that all the world does not think as you do, made- 
moiselle." 

Mademoisolle looked as though she would like to beat him. 
" So ! " she foamed, drawing back her bloodless lips ; " now that 
your turn is served, Bianca Varsini may just be sent to the enfer ! 
Garde-toi, mon camarade ! " 

" Garde your voice," replied Herbert. " The cows yonder will 
think it's a tempest. I wish my turn was served, in more ways 
than one. What particular turn do you mean ? If it's buying Tasso, 
I'll purchase it from you at double price." 

He could not help giving her a little chaff. It was what he 
would have called it : chaff. Exacting people fretted his generally 
easy temper, and he was beginning to fear that she would detain 
him until it was too late to see Anna. 

But, on the latter score, he was set at rest. With a few words, 
spoken in Italian, she nodded her head angrily at him, and turned 
away. Fierce words, in spite of their low tone, Herbert was sure 
they were, but he could not catch one of them. Had he caught 
them all, it would have come to the same, so far as his understanding 
went. Excellent as Signora Varsini's method of teaching Italian 
may have been, her lessons had not as yet been very efficient for 
Herbert Dare. 

She crossed her hands before her, and went down the walk, taking 
the path to the house. Proceeding straight up to the school-room, 
she met Cyril on the stairs. He had apparently been dressing 
himself for the evening, and was going out to spend it. The 
governess caught him abruptly, pulled him inside the school-room, 
and closed the door. 

" I say, mademoiselle, what's that for ? " asked Cyril, believing, 
by the fierce look of the young lady, that she was about to take 
some summary vengeance upon him. 

" Cyril ! you tell me. Where is it that Herbert goes to of an 
evening ? Every evening — every evening ? " 

Cyril stared excessively. " What does it concern you to know 
where he goes, mademoiselle?" returned he. 

" I want to know for my own reasons, and that's enough for 
you, Monsieur Cyril. Where does he go ? " 

" He goes out," responded Cyril. 

The governess stamped her foot petulantly. " I could tell you 
that he goes out. I ask you where it is that he goes ? " 

"How should I know?" was Cyril's answer. "It's not my 
business." 



THE GOVERNESS'S EXPEDITION. 



293 



u Don't you know? " demanded mademoiselle. 

" No, that I don't," heartily spoke Cyril. "Do you suppose I 
watch him, mademoiselle ? He'd pretty soon pitch into me, if he 
caught me at that game. I dare say he goes to billiards." 

The suggestion excited the ire of the governess. " He has been 
telling you to say so ! " she said, menace in every tone of her voice, 
in every gesture of her lifted hand. 

Cyril opened his eyes to their utmost width. He could not 
understand why the governess should be asking him this, or why 
Herbert's movements should concern her. " I know nothing at all 
about it," he answered ; and, so far, he spoke the truth. " I don't 
know that Herbert goes anywhere in particular of an evening. If 
he does, he would not tell me." 

She laid her hand heavily upon his shoulder; she brought her 
face— terrible in its livid earnestness — almost into contact with his. 
" Ecoutez, mon ami," she whispered to the amazed Cyril. "If 
you are going to play this game with me, I will play one with you. 
Who wore the cloak to that boucherie, and got the money ? — who 
ripped out the e'cossais side afterwards, leaving it all mangled and 
open? Think you, I don't know? Ah, ha! Monsieur Cyril, you 
cannot plav the farce with me ! " 

Cyril's face turned ghastly, drops of sweat broke out over his 
forehead. " Hush ! " he cried, looking round in the instinct of 
terror, lest listeners should be at hand. 

" Yes ; you say, i Hush ! ' " she resumed. " I will hush if you don't 
make me speak. I have hushed ever since. You tell me what I 
want to know, and I'll hush always." 

" Mademoiselle Varsini ! " he cried, his manner too painfully 
earnest for her to doubt now that he spoke the truth: "I declare 
that I know nothing of Herbert's movements. I don't know where 
he goes or what he does. When I told you I supposed he went to 
billiards, I said what I thought might be the case. He may go to 
fifty places of an evening, for all I can tell. Tell me what it is you 
want found out, and I will try and do it." 

Cyril was not one to play the spy upon his brother; in fact, 
as he had just classically observed to the young lady, Herbert 
would have " pitched into " him, had he found him attempting it. 
And serve him right ! But Cyril saw that he was in her power ; 
and that made all the difference. He would now have tracked 
Herbert to the ends of the earth at her bidding. 

But she did not bid him. Quite the contrary. She took her 
hand from Cyril's shoulder, opened the door, and said she did not 
want him any longer. " It is no matter," cried she ; " I wanted to 
learn something about Monsieur Herbert, for a reason; but if you 
do not know it, let it pass. It is no matter." 

Cyril departed ; first of all lifting his cowardly face. It looked a 
coward's then. " You'll keep counsel, mademoiselle ? " 

" Yes. When people don't offend me, I don't offend them." 

She stoocl at the door after he had gone down, half in., half out of 



294 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



the room, apparently in deep thought. Presently footsteps were 
heard coming up, and she retreated and closed the door. 

They were those of Herbert. He went on to his room, remained 
there a few minutes, and then came out again. Mademoiselle had 
the door ajar as he descended. Her quick eye detected that he had 
been giving a few finishing touches to his toilette — brushing his hair, 
pulling down his wristbands, and various other little odds and ends 
of dandyism. 

" And you do that to play billiards ! " nodded she, inwardly, as 
she looked after him. " I'll see, monsieur." 

Upstairs with a soft step went she, to her own chamber. She 
reached from her box a long and loose dark-green cloak, similar to 
those worn by the women of France and Flanders, and a black silk 
quilted bonnet. It was her travelling attire, and she put it on 
now. Then she locked her chamber door behind her, and slipped 
down into the dining-room, with as soft a step as she had gone up. 

Passing out at the open window, she kept tolerably under cover 
of the trees, and gained the road. It was quite dusk then, but she 
recognized Herbert before her, walking with a quick step. She put 
on a quick step also, keeping a safe distance between herself and 
him. He went through the town, to the London road, and turned 
into Atterley's field. The governess turned into it after him. 

There she stopped under the hedge, to reconnoitre. A few 
minutes, and she could distinguish that he was joined by some 
young girl, whom he met with every token of respect and confidence. 
A strange cry went forth on the evening air. 

Herbert Dare was startled. "What noise was that?" he ex- 
claimed. 

Anna had heard nothing. " It must have been one of the lambs 
in the field, Herbert." 

"It was more like a human voice in pain," observed Herbert. 
But they heard no more. 

They began their usual walk — a few paces backward and forward, 
beneath the most sheltered part of the hedge, Anna taking his ami. 
Mademoiselle could see, as well as the darkness allowed her ; but 
she could not hear. Her face, peeping out of the [shadowy bonnet, 
was not unlike the face of a tiger. 

She crawled away. She had noticed as she turned into the field 
an iron gate that led into the garden, which the hedge skirted. 
She crept round to it, found it locked, and mounted it. It had 
spikes on the top, but the signora would not have cared just then 
had she found herself impaled. She got safe over it, and then con- 
sidered how to reach the spot where they stood without their 
hearing her. 

Would she be baffled? .S^be baffled ! No. She stooped down, 
unlaced her boots, and stole softly on in her stockings. And there 
she was ! almost as close to them as they were to each other. 

Where had the signora heard those gentle, timid tones before? 
A lovely girl, looking little more than a child, in her modest Quaker 



THE QUARREL 



295 



dress, rose to her mind's eye. She had seen her with Miss Ashley. 
She — the signora — knelt down upon the earth, the better to catch 
what was said. 

" Listeners never hear any good of themselves." It is a proverb 
too often exemplified, as the signora could have told that night. 
Herbert Dare was accounting for his late appearance, which he laid 
to the charge of the governess. He gave a description of the inter- 
view she had volunteered him in the garden at home — more ludi- 
crous, perhaps, than true, but certainly not complimentary to the 
signora. Anna laughed ; and the lady on the other side gathered 
that this was not the first time she had formed a topic of merriment 
between them. You should have seen her face. Pour filaisir, as 
she herself might have said. 

She stayed out the interview. When it was over, and Herbert 
Dare had departed, she put on her boots and mounted the gate 
again ; but she was not so agile this time, and a spike entered her 
wrist. Binding her handkerchief round it, to arrest the blood, she 
returned to Pomeranian Knoll. 

Five hundred questions were showered upon her when she entered 
the drawing-room, looking calm and impassable as ever. Not a 
tress of her elaborate braids of hair was out of place ; not a fold 
awry in her dress. Much wonder had been excited by her failing 
to appear at tea; Minny had drummed a waltz on her chamber 
door, but mademoiselle would not open it, and would not speak. 

" I cannot speak when I am lying down with those vilaine head- 
aches," remarked mademoiselle. 

" Have you a headache, mademoiselle? " asked Mrs. Dare. " Will 
you have a cup of tea brought up?" 

Mademoiselle declined the tea. She was not thirsty. 

" What have you done to your wrist, mademoiselle ? " called out 
Herbert, who was stretched on a sofa, at the far end of the room. 

" My wrist? Oh, I scratched it." 

" How did you manage that? " 

" Ah, bah ! it's nothing," responded mademoiselle. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

THE QUARREL. 

It is grievous, when ill-feeling arises between brothers, that that 
ill-feeling should be cherished, instead of being subdued. But such 
was the case with Anthony and Herbert Dare. By the time the 
sunny month of May came in, matters had grown to such a height 
between them, that Mr. Dare found himself compelled to interfere. 
It was beginning to make things in the house uncomfortable. They 
would meet at meals, and not only abstain from speaking to each 
other, but take every possible opportunity of showing mutual and 



296 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



marked discourtesy. No positive outbreak between them had as 
yet taken place in the presence of the family : but it was only 
smouldering, and might be daily looked for. 

Mr. Dare, so far as the original cause went, blamed his eldest 
son. Undoubtedly Anthony had been solely in fault. It was a 
dishonourable, ungenerous, unmanly act, to draw his brother into 
trouble, and to do it plausibly and deceitfully. At the present stage 
of the affair, Mr. Dare saw occasion to blame Herbert more than 
Anthony. "It is you who keep up the ball, Herbert," he said to 
him. "If you would suffer the matter to die away, Anthony would 
do so." " Of course he would," Herbert replied. " He has served 
his turn, and would be glad that it should end there." 

It was in vain that Mr. Dare talked to them. A dozen times did 
he recommend them to " shake hands and make it up." Neither 
appeared inclined to take the advice. Anthony was sullen. He 
would have been content to let the affair drop quietly into oblivion : 
perhaps, as Herbert said, had been glad that it should so drop ; 
but, make the slightest move towards it, he would not. Herbert 
openly said that he'd not shake hands. If Anthony wanted ever to 
shake hands with him again, let him pay up. 

There lay the grievance ; " paying up." The bills, not paid, were 
a terrible thorn in the side of Herbert Dare. He was responsible, 
and he knew not one hour from another but he might be arrested 
on them. To soothe matters between his sons, Mr. Dare would 
willingly have taken the charge of payment upon himself, but he 
had positively not the money to do it with. In point of fact, Mr. 
Dare was growing seriously embarrassed on his own score. He had 
had a great deal of trouble with his sons, with Anthony in particu- 
lar, and he had grown sick and tired of helping them out of 
pecuniary difficulties. Still, he would have relieved Herbert of this 
one nightmare, had it been in his power. Herbert had been deluded 
into it, without any advantage to himself ; therefore Mr. Dare had 
the will, could he have managed it, to help him out. He told 
Herbert that he would see what he could do after a while. The 
promise did not relieve Herbert of present fears; neither did it 
restore peace between the malcontents. Had Herbert been relieved 
of that particular embarrassment, others would have remained to 
him ; but that fact did not in the least lessen his soreness, as to the 
point in question. 

It was an intensely hot day ; far hotter than is usual at the 
season; and the afternoon sun streamed full on the windows of 
Pomeranian Knoll, suggesting thoughts of July, instead of May. A 
gay party — at any rate, a party dressed in gay attire — were crossing 
the hall to enter a carriage that waited at the door. Mr. Dare, 
Mrs. Dare, and Adelaide. Mrs. Dare had always been given to 
gay attire, and her daughters had inherited her taste. They were 
going to dine at a friend's house, a few miles' distance from Helston- 
leigh. The invitation was for seven o'clock. It was now striking 
six, the dinner-hour at Mr, Dare's, 



THE QUARREL. 



297 



Minny, looking half melted, had perched herself upon the end of 
the balustrades to watch the departure 
" You'll fall, child," said Mr. Dare. 

Minny laughed, and said there was no danger of her falling. She 
wondered what her papa would think if he saw her sometimes at her 
gymnastics on the balustrades, taking a sweeping slide from the top 
to the bottom. She generally contrived that he should not see her ; 
or mademoiselle, either. Mademoiselle had caught sight of the 
performance once, and had given her a whole French fable to learn, 
by way of punishment. 

"Are we to have strawberries for dinner, mamma?" asked Minny. 

"You will have what I have thought proper to order," replied 
Mrs. Dare rather sharply. She was feeling hot and cross. Some- 
thing had put her out while dressing. 

" I think you might wait for strawberries until they are ripe in 
our own garden ; not buy them in the shops regardless of cost," 
interposed Mr. Dare, speaking for the general benefit, but not to 
any one in particular. 

Minny dropped the subject. " Your dress is turned up, Adelaide," 
said she. 

Adelaide looked languidly behind her, and a maid, who had fol- 
lowed them down, advanced and put right the refractory dress : a 
handsome dress of pink silk, glistening with its own richness. At 
that moment Anthony entered the hall. He had just come home 
to dinner, and looked in a very bad humour. 

" How late you'll be ! " he cried. 

"Not at all. We shall drive there in an hour." 

They swept out at the door, Mrs. Dare and Adelaide. Mr. Dare 
was about to follow them, when a sudden thought appeared to strike 
him, and he turned back and addressed Anthony. 

" You young men take care that you don't get quarrelling with 
each other. Do you hear, Anthony? " 

" I hear," ungraciously replied Anthony, not turning round to 
speak, but continuing his way up to his dressing-room. He prob- 
ably regarded the injunction with contempt, for it was too much in 
Anthony Dare's nature so to regard all advice, of whatever kind. 
Nevertheless it had been well that he had given heed to it. It had 
been well that that last word to his father had been one of affection ! 

Dinner was served. Anthony, in the absence of Mr. and Mrs. 
Dare, took the head. Rosa, with a show of great parade and cere- 
mony, assumed the seat opposite to him, and said she should be 
mistress. Minny responded that Rosa was not going to be mistress 
over her, and the governess desired Miss Rosa not to talk so loudly. 
Rather derogatory checks, these, to the dignity of a " mistress." 

Herbert was not at table. Irregular as the young Dares were in 
many of their habits, they were generally home to dinner. Minny 
wondered aloud where Herbert was. Anthony replied that he was 
" skulking." 

f< Skulking ! " echoed Minny, 



298 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Yes, skulking," angrily repeated Anthony. "He left the office at 
three o'clock, and has never been near it since. And the governor 
left at four ! " he added, in a tone that seemed to say he considered 
that also a grievance. 

" Where did Herbert go to?" asked Rosa. 

" I don't know," responded Anthony. " I only know that I had a 
double share of work to do." 

Anthony Dare was no friend to work. And having had to do 
a little more than he would have done, had Herbert remained at his 
post, had considerably aggravated his temper. 

" Why should Monsieur Herbert go away and leave you his work 
to do?" inquired the governess, lifting her eyes from her plate to 
Anthony. 

" I shall take care to ask him why," returned Anthony. 

" It is not fair that he should," continued mademoiselle. H I 
would not have done it for him, Monsieur Anthony." 

" Neither should I, had I not been obliged," said Anthony, not in 
the least relaxing from his ill-humour, either in looks or tone. " It 
was work that had to be done before post-time, and one of our clerks 
is away on business to-day." 

Dinner proceeded to its close. Joseph hesitated, unwilling to 
remove the cloth. "Is it to be left for Mr. Herbert? " he asked. 

" No! " imperiously answered Anthony. " If he cannot come in 
for dinner, dinner shall not be kept for him." 

" Cook is keeping the things by the fire, sir." 

" Then tell her to save herself the trouble." 

So the cloth was removed, and dessert put on. To Minny's 
inexpressible disappointment it turned out that there were no 
strawberries. This put her into an ill-humour, and she left the 
table and the room, declaring she would not touch anything else. 
Mademoiselle Varsini called her back, and ordered her to her seat ; 
she would not permit so great a breach of discipline. Cyril and 
George, who were not under mademoiselle's control, gulped down 
a glass of wine, and hastened out to keep an engagement. It was 
a very innocent one ; a cricket match had been organized for the 
evening, by some of the old college boys ; and Cyril and George 
were amongst the players. It has never been mentioned that Mr. 
Ashley, in his strict sense of justice, had allowed Cyril the privilege 
of spending his evenings at home, five nights in the week, as he did 
to William Halliburton. 

The rest remained at table. Minny, per force ; Rosa, to take an 
unlimited quantity of oranges; Mademoiselle Varsini, because it 
was the custom to remain. But mademoiselle soon rose and with- 
drew with her pupils ; Anthony was not showing himself a par- 
ticularly sociable companion. He had not touched any dessert ; 
but seemed to be drinking a good deal of wine. 

As they were going out of the room, Herbert bustled in. " Now 
then, take care ! " cried he, for Minny, paying little attention to her 
movements, had gone full tilt at him, 



THE QUARREL. 



299 



"Oh! Herbert, can't you see?" cried she, dolefully rubbing her 
head. " What made you so late ? Dinner's gone away." 

" It can be brought in again," replied Herbert carelessly. " Comme 
il est chaud ! n'est-ce pas, mademoiselle ? " 

This last was addressed to the governess. Rosa screamed with 
laughter at his bad French, and mademoiselle smiled. " You get 
on in French as you do in Italian, Monsieur Herbert," cried she. 
" And that is what you call — backward." 

Herbert laughed good-humouredly. He did not know what par- 
ticular mistake he had made ; truth to say, he did not care. They 
withdrew, and he rang the bell for his dinner. 

" Mind, Herbert," cried Minny, putting in her head again at the 
door, " papa said you were not to quarrel." 

Better, perhaps, that she had not said it ! Who can tell ? 

The brothers remained alone. Anthony sullen, and, as yet, silent. 
He appeared to have emptied the port wine decanter, and to be 
beginning at the sherry! Herbert strolled past him; supreme in- 
difference in his manner— some might have said contempt — and 
stood just outside the window, whistling. 

You have not forgotten that this dining-room window opened to 
the ground. The apartment was long and somewhat narrow, the 
window large and high, and opening in the centre, after the manner 
of a French one. The door was at one end of the room; the 
window at the other. 

Anthony was in too quarrelsome a mood to remain silent long. 
He began the skirmish by demanding what Herbert meant by 
absenting himself from the office for the afternoon, and where he 
had been to. His resentful tone, his authoritative words, were not 
calculated to win a very civil answer. 

They did not win one from Herbert. His tone was resentful, 
too ; his words were coolly aggravating. Anthony was not his 
master ; when he was, he might, perhaps, answer him. Such was 
their purport. 

A hot interchange of words ensued. Nothing more. Anthony 
remained at the table ; Herbert, half in, half out of the window, 
leaned against its frame. When Joseph returned to put things in 
readiness for Herbert's dinner, they had subsided into quietness. 
It was only a lull in the storm. 

Joseph placed the dessert nearer Anthony's end of the table, 
and laid the cloth across the other end. Herbert came into the 
room. " What a time you are with dinner, Joseph ! " cried he. 
" One would think it was being cooked over again." 

" Cook's warming it, sir." 

" Warming it ! " echoed Herbert. " Why couldn't she keep it 
warm ? She might be sure I should be home to dinner." 

" She was keeping it warm, sir ; but Mr. Anthony ordered it to be 
put away." 

Now, the man had really no intention of making mischief when 
he said this ; that it might cause ill-feeling between the brothers, 



3oo MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



never crossed his mind. He was only anxious that he and the 
cook should stand free from blame; for the young Dares, when 
displeased with the servants, were not in the habit of sparing them. 
Herbert turned to Anthony. 

" What business have you to interfere with my dinner ? Or with 
anything else that concerns me ? " 

" I choose to make it my business," insolently retorted Anthony. 

At this juncture Joseph left the room. He had laid the cloth, and 
had nothing more to stop for. Better perhaps that he had remained ! 
Surely they would not have proceeded to extremities, the brothers, 
before their servant! In a short time, sounds, as if both were in a 
terrible state of fury, resounded through the house from the dining- 
room. The sounds did not reach the kitchen, which was partially 
detached from the house ; but the young ladies heard them, and 
came running out of the drawing-room. 

The governess was in the school-room. The noise penetrated 
even there. She also came forth, and saw her two pupils extended 
over the balustrades, listening. At any other time mademoiselle 
would have reproved them : now she crept down and leaned over 
in company. 

" What can be the matter ? " whispered she. 

" Papa told them not to quarrel ! " was all the answer, uttered by 
Minny. 

It was a terrible quarrel — there was little doubt of that ; no child's 
play. Passionate bursts of fury rose incessantly, now from one, now 
from the other, now from both. Hot recrimination ; words that 
were not suited to unaccustomed ears — or to any ears, for the matter 
of that — rose high and loud. The governess turned pale, and Minny 
burst into tears. 

" Some one ought to go into the room," said Rosa. " Minny, you 
go ! Tell them to be quiet." 
" I am afraid," replied Minny. 
"So am I." 

A fearful sound : an explosion louder than all the rest. A noise 
as if some heavy weight had been thrown down. Had it come to 
blows ? Minny shrieked, and at the same moment Joseph was seen 
coming along with a tray, Herbert's dinner upon it. 

His presence seemed to bring with it a sense of courage, and Rosa 
and Minny flew down, followed by the governess. Herbert had been 
knocked down by Anthony. He was gathering himself up when 
Joseph opened the door. Gathering himself up in a tempest of 
passion, his white face a livid fury, as he caught hold of a knife 
from the table and rushed upon Anthony. 

But Joseph was too quick for him. The man dashed his tray on 
the table, seized Herbert, and turned the uplifted knife downwards. 
" For Heaven's sake, sir, recollect yourself! " said he. 

Recollect himself then ? No. Persons, who put themselves into 
that mad state of passion, cannot " recollect " themselves. Joseph 
kept his hold, and the dining-room resounded with shrieks and sobs. 



THE QUARREL 



301 



They proceeded from Rosa and Minny. They pulled their 
brothers by the coats, they implored, they entreated. The women 
servants came flying from the kitchen, and the Italian governess 
asked the two gentlemen in French whether they were not ashamed 
of themselves. 

Perhaps they were. At any rate the quarrel was, for the time, 
ended. Herbert flung the knife upon the table and turned his white 
face upon his brother. 

" Take care of yourself, though ! " cried he, in a marked tone : " I 
swear you shall have it, yet." 

They pulled Anthony out of the room, Rosa and Minny ; or it is 
difficult to say what rejoinder he might have made, or how violently 
the quarrel might have been renewed. It was certain that he had 
taken more wine than was good for him ; and that, generally speak- 
ing, did not improve the temper of Anthony Dare. Mademoiselle 
Varsini walked by his side, talking volubly in French. Whether 
she was sympathizing or scolding, Anthony did not know. Not 
particularly bright at understanding French at the best of times, 
even when spoken slowly, he could not, in his present excitement, 
catch the meaning of a single word. Entering the drawing-room, 
he threw himself upon the sofa, intending to smooth down his ruffled 
plumage by taking a nap. 

Herbert meanwhile had remained in the dining-room, smoothing 
down his ruffled plumage. Joseph and the cook were bending over 
the debris on the carpet. When Joseph dashed down his tray on 
the table, a dish of potatoes had bounded off ; both dish and 
potatoes, thereby, coming to grief. Herbert sat down and made an 
excellent dinner. His was not a sullen temper ; and, unlike Anthony, 
the affair once over, he was soon himself again. Should they come 
into contact again directly, there was no saying how it would end, 
or what might ensue. His dinner over, he went by-and-by to the 
drawing-room. Joseph had just entered, and was arousing Anthony 
from the sleep he had dropped into. 

" One of the waiters from the Star-and-Garter has come, sir. He 
says Lord Hawkesley has sent him to say that the gentlemen are 
waiting for you." 

" I can't go, tell him," responded Anthony, speaking as he looked, 
thoroughly out of sorts. "I am not going out to-night. Here! 
Joseph ! " for the man was turning away with the message. 

" Sir ? " 

" Take these, and bring me my slippers." 

" These " were his boots, which he, not very politely, kicked off 
in the ladies' presence, and sent flying after Joseph. The man 
stooped to pick them up, and was carrying them away. 

" Here ! — what a hurry you are in ! " began Anthony again. " Take 
lights up to my chamber, and the brandy, and some cold water. 
I shall make myself comfortable there for the night. This room's 
unbearable, with its present company." 

The last was a shaft levelled at Herbert. He did not retort, for 



302 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



a wonder. In fact, Anthony afforded little time for it. Before the 
words had well left his lips, he had left the room. Herbert began 
to whistle ; its very tone insolent. 

It appeared almost certain that the unpleasantness was not yet 
over; and Rosa audibly wished her papa was at home. Joseph 
carried to Anthony's room what he required, and then brought 
the tea to the drawing-room. Herbert said he should take tea 
with them. It was rather unusual for him to do so : it was very 
unusual for Anthony not to go out. Their sisters felt sure that 
they were only staying in to renew hostilities ; and again Rosa 
almost passionately wished for the presence of her father. 

It was dusk by the time tea was over. Herbert rose to leave 
the room. " Where are you going ? " cried mademoiselle sharply 
after him. 

" That's my business," he replied, not in too conciliatory a tone. 
Perhaps he thought the question proceeded from one of his sisters, 
for he was outside the door when it reached him. 

" He is going into Anthony's room ! " cried Rosa, turning pale, as 
they heard him run upstairs. " Oh, mademoiselle ! what can be 
done ? I think I'll call Joseph." 

" Hush ! " cried mademoiselle. " Wait you here. I will go and 
see." 

She stole out of the room and up the stairs, intending to recon- 
noitre. But she had no time to do so. Herbert was coming down 
again, and she could only slip inside the school-room door, and peep 
out. He had evidently been upstairs for his cloak, for he was put- 
ting it on as he descended. 

" The cloak on a hot night like this ! " said mademoiselle men- 
tally. " He must want to disguise himself! " 

She stopped to listen. Joseph had come up the stairs, bringing 
something to Anthony, and Herbert arrested him, speaking in a low 
tone. 

" Don't make any mistake to-night about the dining-room window, 
Joseph. I can't think how you could have been so stupid last 

night ! " 

" Sir, I assure you I left it undone, as usual," replied Joseph. 
" It must have been master who fastened it." 

" Well, take care that it does not occur again," said Herbert. 
" I expect to be in between ten and eleven ; but I may be later, and 
I don't want to ring you up again." 

Herbert went swiftly downstairs and out, choosing to depart by 
the way, as it appeared, that he intended to enter — the dining-room 
window. Joseph proceeded to Anthony's chamber : and the gover- 
ness returned to her frightened pupils in the drawing-room. 

" A la bonne heure ! " she said to them. " Monsieur Herbert 
has gone out, and I heard him say to Joseph that he had gone for 
the evening." 

" Then it's all safe ! " cried Minny. And she began dancing 
round the room. " Mademoiselle, how pale you look ! " 



THE QUARREL. 



303 



Mademoiselle had sat down in her place before the tea-tray, and 
was leaning her cheek upon her hand. She was certainly looking 
unusually pale. " Enough to make me ! " she said, in answer to 
Minny. "If there were to be this disturbance often in the house, 
I would not stop in it for double my appoint ements. It has given 
me one of those vilaine headaches, and I think I shall go to bed. 
You will not be afraid to stay up alone, mesdemoiselles ? " 

" There is nothing to be afraid of now," promptly answered Rosa, 
who had far rather be without her governess's company than with 
it. " Don't sit up for us, mademoiselle." 

" Then I will go at once," said mademoiselle. And she wished 
them good night, and retired to her chamber. 



PART THE THIRD. 



CHAPTER I. 

ANNA LYNN'S DILEMMA. 

It was a lovely evening. One of those warm, still evenings that 
May sometimes brings us, when gnats hum in the air, and the 
trees are at rest. The day had been intensely hot : the evening 
was little less so, and Anna Lynn leaned over the gate of their 
garden, striving to catch what of freshness there might be in the 
coming night. The garish day was fading into moonlight; the 
distant Malvern Hills grew fainter and fainter on the view; the 
little lambs in the field — growing into great lambs now, some of 
them — had long lain down to rest ; and the Thursday evening bells 
came chiming pleasantly on the ear from Helstonleigh. 

" How late he is to-night ! " murmured Anna. "If he does not 
come soon, I shall not be able to stay out." 

Even as the words passed her lips, a faint movement might be 
distinguished in the obscurity of the night, telling of the advent of 
Herbert Dare. Anna looked round to see that the windows were 
clear from prying eyes, and went forth to meet him. 

He had halted at the usual place, under cover of the hedge. 
The hedge of sweetbriar, skirting that side garden into which the 
Signora Varsini had made good her entree, in the gratification of 
her curiosity. A shaded walk, and a quiet one : very little fear 
there, of overlookers. 

" Herbert, thee art late ! " cried Anna. 

" A good thing I was able to come at all," responded Herbert, 
taking Anna's arm within his own. " I thought at one time I must 
have remained at home, to chastise my brother Anthony." 

" Chastise thy brother Anthony ! " repeated Anna in astonish- 
ment. 

Herbert, for the first time, told her of the unpleasantness that 
existed between his brother and himself. He did not mention the 
precise cause ; but simply said Anthony had behaved ill to him, 
and drawn down upon him trouble and vexation. Anna was all 
sympathy. Had Herbert told her the offence had lain on his side, 
not on Anthony's, her entire sympathy had still been his. She 
deemed Herbert everything that was good and great and worthy. 
Anthony — what little she knew of him — she did not like. 



ANNA LYNN'S DILEMMA, 



30S 



" Herbert, maybe he will be striking thee in secret, when thee art 
unprepared." 

" Let him ! " carelessly replied Herbert. " I can strike again. I 
am stronger than he is. I know one thing : either he or I must 
leave my father's house and take lodgings ; we can't stop in it 
together." 

"It would be he to leave it, would it not, Herbert? Thy father 
would not be so unjust as to turn thee out for thy brother's fault." 

" I don't know about that," said Herbert. " I expect it is I who 
would have to go. Anthony is the eldest, and my mother's 
favourite." 

Anna lifted her hand, in her innocent surprise. Anthony the 
favourite by the side of Herbert ? She could not understand how 
so great an anomaly could exist. 

Interested in the topic, the time slipped on. During a moment 
of silence, when they had halted in their walk, they heard what was 
called the ten o'clock bell strike out from Helstonleigh : a bell th^t 
boomed out over the city every night for ten minutes before ten 
o'clock. The sound startled Anna. She had indeed overstayed 
her time. 

"One moment, Anna!" cried Herbert, as she was preparing to 
fly off. " There can't be any such hurry. Hester will not be going 
to bed yet, on a hot night like this. I wanted you to return me 
that book, if you have done with it. It is not mine, and I have 
been asked for it." 

Truth to say, Anna would be glad to return it. The book was 
Moore's " Lalla Rookh," and Anna had been upon thorns all the 
time she had been reading it, lest by some unlucky mishap it might 
reach the eyes of Patience. She thought it everything that was 
beautiful ; she had read pages of it over and over again ; they wore 
for her a strange enchantment : but she had a shrewd suspicion that 
neither book nor reading would be approved by Patience. "I'll 
bring it out to thee at once, Herbert, if I can," she hastily said. 
"If not, I will give it thee to-morrow evening." 

" Not so fast, young lady," said Herbert, laughing, and detaining 
her. "You may not come back again. I'll wish you good night 
now." 

" Nay, please thee let me go ! What will Hester say to me ?" 

Scarcely giving a moment to the adieu, Anna sped with swift feet 
to the garden gate. But, the moment she was within the barrier, 
and had turned the key, she began — little dissembler that she was ! 
— to step on slowly, in a careless, nonchalaiit manner, looking up at 
the sky, turning her head to the trees, in no more hurry apparently 
than if bed-time were three hours off. She had seen Hester Dell 
standing at the house door. 

" Child," said Hester gravely, "thee shouldst not stay out so late 
at this." 

" It is so warm a night, Hester ! " 

" But thee shouldst not be beyond the premises. Patience would 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 20 



306 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



not like it. It is past thy bed-time, too. Patience's sleeping-draught 
has not come," she added, turning to another subject. 

" Her sleeping-draught not come ! " repeated Ann in surprise. 

" It has not. I have been expecting the boy to knock every 
minute, or I should have come to see after thee. Friend Parry 
may have forgotten it." 

"Why, of course he must have forgotten it," said Anna, inwardly 
promising the boy a sixpence for his forgetfulness. " The medicine 
always comes in the morning. Will Patience sleep without it ? " 

" I fear me not. What dost thee think ? Suppose I were to run 
for it ? " 

" Yes, do, Hester." 

They went in, Hester closing the back door and locking it. She 
put on her shawl and bonnet, and was going out at the front door 
when the clock struck ten. 

" It is ten o'clock, child," she said to Anna. " Thee go to bed. 
Thee needst not sit up. I'll take the latch-key with me and let 
myself in." 

" Oh, Hester ! I don't want to go to bed yet," returned Anna 
fretfully. " It is like a summer's evening." 

" But thee hadst better, child," urged Hester. " Patience has been 
angry with me once or twice, saying I suffer thee to sit up late. 
A pretty budget she will be telling thy father on his return ! 
Thee go to bed. Thy candle is ready here on the slab. Good 
night." 

Hester departed, shutting fast the door, and carrying with her 
the latch-key. Anna, fully convinced that friend Parry's forgetful- 
ness, or the boy's,. must have been designed as a special favour to 
herself, went softly into the best parlour to take the book out of her 
pretty work-table. 

But the room was dark, and Anna could not find her keys. She 
believed she had left her keys on the top of this very work-table ; 
but, feel as she would, she could not place her hands upon them. 
With a word of impatience, lest, with all her hurry, Herbert Dare 
should be gone before she could return to him with the book, she 
went to the kitchen, lighted the chamber candle, spoken of by 
Hester as placed ready for her use, and carried it into the parlour. 

Her keys were found on the mantel-piece. She unlocked the 
drawer, took from it the book, blew out the candle, and ran through 
the garden to the field. 

Another minute, and Herbert would have left. He was turning 
away. In truth, he had not in the least expected to see Anna back 
again. " Then you have been able to come ! " he exclaimed, in his 
surprise. 

" Hester is gone out," explained Anna. "Friend Parry has for- 
gotten to send Patience's medicine, and Hester has gone for it. 
Herbert, thee only think! But for Hester's expecting Parry's boy 
to knock at the door, she would have come out here searching for 
me! She said she would. I must never forget the time again, 



ANNA LYNN'S DILEMMA. 



307 



There's the book, and thank thee. I am sorry and yet glad to give 
it thee back." 

"Is that not a paradox?" asked Herbert, with a smile. "I do 
not know why you should be either sorry or glad : to be both seems 
inexplicable." 

" I am sorry to lose it : it is the most charming book I have read, 
and but for Patience I should like to have kept it for ever," returned 
Anna with enthusiasm. " But I always felt afraid of Hester's find- 
ing it and carrying it up to Patience. Patience would be angry ; 
and she might tell my father. That is why I am glad to give it 
back to thee." 

" Why did you not lock it up ? " asked Herbert. 

" I did lock it up. I locked it in my work-table drawer. But I 
forget to put my keys in my pocket : I leave them about anywhere. 
I should have been out with it sooner, but that I could not find the 
keys." 

Anna was in no momentary hurry to run in now. Hester was 
safe for full twenty minutes to come, therefore her haste need not 
be so great. She knew that it was past her bed-time, and that 
Patience would be wondering (unless by great good-fcrtune Patience 
should have dropped asleep) why she did not go in to wish her good 
night. But these reflections Anna conveniently ignored, in the 
charm of remaining longer to talk about the book. She told 
Herbert that she had been copying the engravings, but she must 
put the drawings in some safe place before Patience was about 
again. " Tell me the time, please," she suddenly said, bringing her 
chatter to a standstill. 

Herbert took out his watch, and held its face towards the moon. 
"It is twelve minutes past ten." 

" Then I must be going in," said Anna. " She could be back in 
twenty minutes, and she must not find me out again." 

Herbert turned with her, and walked to the gate ; pacing slowly, 
both of them, and talking still. He turned in at the gate with her, 
and Anna made no demur. No fear of his being seen. Patience 
was as safe in bed as if she had been chained there, and Hester 
could not be back quite yet. Arrived at the door, closed as Anna 
had left it, Herbert put out his hand. " I suppose I must bid you 
a final good night now, Anna," he said in a low tone. 

"That thee must. I have to come down the garden again to 
lock the gate after thee. And Hester may not be more than three 
or four minutes longer. Good night to thee, Herbert." 

" Let me see that it is all safe for you, against you do go in," said 
Herbert, laying his hand on the handle of the door to open it. 

To open it? Nay: he could not open it. The handle resisted 
his efforts. " Did you lock it, Anna ? " 

Anna smiled at what she thought his awkwardness. " Thee art 
turning it the wrong way, Herbert. See ! " 

He withdrew his hand to give place to hers, and she turned the 
handle, softly and gently, the contrary way ; that is, she essayed to 



3o8 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



turn it. But it would not turn for her, any more than it had turned 
for Herbert Dare. A sick feeling of terror rushed over Anna, as a 
conviction of the truth grew upon her. Hester Dell had returned, 
and she was locked out ! 

In good truth, it was no less a calamity. Hester Dell had not 
gone far from the door on her errand, when she met the doctor's 
boy with his basket, hastening up with the medicine. " I was just 
coming after it," said Hester to him. " Whatever brings thee so 
late ? " 

" Mr. Parry was called out this morning before he had time to 
make it up, and he has only just come home," was the boy's reply. 
" Better late than never," he somewhat saucily added. 

" Well, so it is," acquiesced Hester, who rarely gave anything but 
a meek retort. And she turned back home, letting herself in with 
the latch-key. The house appeared precisely as she had left it, 
except that Anna's candle had disappeared from the mahogany slab 
in the passage. "That's right! the child's gone to bed," solilo- 
quised she. 

She proceeded to go to bed herself. The Quaker's was an early 
household. All Hester had to do now, was to give Patience her 
sleeping-draught. " Let me see," continued Hester, still in soliloquy, 
" I think I did lock the back door." 

To make sure, she tried the key and found it was not locked. 
Rather wondering, for she certainly thought she had locked it, but 
dismissing the subject the next minute from her thoughts, she locked 
it now, and took the key out. Then she continued her way up to 
Patience. Patience, lying there lonely and dull with her night-light, 
turned her eyes on Hester. 

" Did thee think we had forgotten thee, Patience ? Parry has 
been out all day, the boy says, and the physic is but this minute 
come." 

" Where's Anna ? " inquired Patience. 

" She is gone to bed." 

" Why did she not come to me as usual ? " 

" Did she not come ? " asked Hester. 

" I have seen nothing of her all the evening." 

" Maybe she thought thee'd be dozing," observed Hester, bring- 
ing forward the sleeping-draught, which she had been pouring into 
a wine-glass. She said no more. Her private opinion was, that 
Anna had purposely abstained from the visit, lest she should receive 
a scolding for going to bed late, her usual hour being half-past nine. 
Neither did Patience say any more. She was feeling that Anna 
might be a little less ungrateful. She took the draught, and Hester 
went to bed. 

And poor Anna ? To describe her dismay, her consternation, 
would be a useless attempt. The doors were fast — the windows were 
fast also. Herbert Dare essayed to soothe her, but she would not 
be soothed. She sat down on the step of the back door, and cried 
bitterly: all her apprehension being for the terrible, scolding she 



Anna lynn's dilemma. 



309 



should have from Patience, were it found out; the Worse than 
scolding, if Patience told her father. 

To give Herbert Dare his due, he felt truly vexed at the dilemma, 
for Anna's sake. Could he have let her in by getting down a chimney 
himself, or in any other impromptu way, and so opened the door for 
her, he would have done it. " Don't cry, Anna," he entreated, " don't 
cry! I'll take care of you. Nothing shall harm you. I'll not go 
away." 

The more he talked, the more she cried. Very like a little child. 
Had Herbert Dare known how to break the glass without noise, he 
would have taken out a pane in the kitchen window, and so reached 
the fastening, and opened it. Anna, in worse terror than ever, 
begged him not to attempt it. It would be sure to arouse Hester. 

" But you'll be so cold, child, staying here all night ! " he urged. 
" You are shivering now." 

Anna was shivering : shivering with vexation and fear. Herbert 
thought it would be better that he should boldly knock up Hester ; 
and he suggested it : nay, he pressed it. But the proposal sounded 
more alarming to Anna than any that had gone before it. It seemed 
that there was nothing to be done. 

How long she sat there, crying and shivering and refusing to be 
comforted or to hear reason, she could not tell. Half the night, it 
seemed. But Anna, you must remember, was counting time by her 
own state of mind, not by the clock. Suddenly a bright thought, as 
a ray of light, flashed into her brain. 

" There's the pantry window," she cried, arresting her tears. " How 
could I ever have forgotten it ? There is no glass, and thee art strong 
enough to push in the wire." 

This pantry window Herbert Dare had known nothing of. It was 
at the side of the house, thickly surrounded by shrubs ; a square 
window frame, protected by wire. He fought his way to it amidst 
the shrubs ; but to get in proved a work of time and difficulty. The 
window was at some height from the ground, the wire was strong. 
Anna sat on the door-step, never stirring, leaving him to get in if he 
could, her tears falling, and terrific visions of Patience's anger chasing 
each other through her mind. And the night went on. 

"Anna!" 

She could have shouted forth a cry of delight as she leaped up. 
He had entered, had found his way to the kitchen window, had 
gently raised it, and was softly calling to her. Some little difficulty 
still, but with Herbert's assistance she was safely landed, a great tear 
in her dress the only damage. He had managed to obtain a light 
by means of some fusees in his pocket, and had lighted a candle. 
Anna sat down on a chair, her face radiant through her tears. 
" How shall I ever thank thee ? " 

He was looking at his fingers, with a half-serious, half-mocking 
expression of dismay. The wire had torn them in many places, and 
they were bleeding. " I could have got in quicker had I forced the 
wire out in the middle," he observed, " but that would have told tales. 



3io MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



I pushed it away from the side, and have pushed it back again into 
its place as well as I could. Perhaps it may escape notice." 

" How shall I ever thank thee ? " was all Anna could repeat in 
her gratitude. 

" Now you know what you must do, Anna," said he. " I am going 
to jump out through the window, and be off home. You must shut 
it and fasten it after me : I'd shut it myself, after I'm out, but that 
these stains on my fingers would be transferred to the frame. 
And when you leave the kitchen, remember to turn the key of the 
door outside. I found it turned. Do you understand? And now 
farewell, my little locked-out princess. Don't say I have not 
worked wonders for you, as the good spirits do in the fairy tales." 

She caught his hand in her glad delight. She looked at him with 
a face full of gratitude. Herbert Dare bent down and took a kiss 
from the up-turned face. Perhaps he thought he had fairly earned 
the reward. Then he proceeded to swing himself through the 
window, feeling delighted that he had been able to free Anna from 
her dilemma. 

Before Helstonleigh arose next morning, a startling report was 
circulating through the city, the very air teeming with it. A report 
that Anthony Dare had been killed in the night by his brother 
Herbert. 



CHAPTER II. 

COMMOTION. 

The streets of Helstonleigh, lying so still and quiet in the moon- 
light, were broken in upon by the noisy sound of a carriage, bowling 
through them. A carriage that was abroad late. It wanted very 
little of the time when the church clocks would boom out the two 
hours after midnight. Time, surely, for all sober people to be in 
bed! 

The carriage contained Mr. Dare, his wife, and daughter. They 
went, as you may remember, to a dinner party in the country. The 
dinner was succeeded by an evening gathering, and it was nearly 
one o'clock when they left the house to return. It wanted only five 
minutes to two when the carriage stopped at their own home, and 
sleepy Joseph opened the door to them. 

" All in bed ? " asked Mr. Dare, as he bustled into the hall. 

" I believe so, sir," answered Joseph, as carelessly as he could 
speak. Mr. Dare, he was aware, alluded to his sons ; and, not being 
by any means sure upon the point, Joseph was willing to escape 
further questioning. 

Two of the maids came forward — the lady's maid, as she was called 
in the family, and Betsy. Betsy was no other than our old friend, 
Betsy Carter: once the little maid-of-all-work at Mrs. Halliburton's ; 



COMMOTION. 



3il 



risen now to be a very fine housemaid at Mrs. Dare's. They had 
sat up to attend upon Mrs. Dare and Adelaide. 

Mr. Dare had been for a long while in the habit of smoking 
a pipe before he went to bed. He would have told you that he 
could not do without it. Did business or pleasure take him 
out, he must have his pipe when he returned, however late it 
might be. 

" How hot it is ! " he exclaimed, throwing back his coat. 
" Leave the hall door open, Joseph : I'll sit outside. Bring me my 
pipe." 

Joseph looked for the pipe in its appointed resting-place, and 
could not see it. It was a small, handsome pipe, silver-mounted, 
with an amber mouth-piece. The tobacco-jar was there, but Joseph 
could see nothing of the pipe. 

" Law ! I remember ! " exclaimed Betsy. " Master left it in the 
dining-room last night, and I put it under the sideboard when I was 
doing the room this morning, intending to bring it away. I'll go and 
get it." 

Taking the candle from Joseph's hand, she turned hastily into the 
dining-room. Not, however, as hastily as she came out of it. She 
burst out, uttering a succession of piercing shrieks, and seized upon 
Joseph. The shrieks echoed through the house, upstairs and down, 
and Mr. Dare came in. 

" Why, what on earths the matter, girl ? " cried he. " Have you 
seen a ghost ? " 

" Oh, sir ! Oh, Joseph, don't let go of me; Mr. Anthony's lying 
in there, dead ! " 

" Don't be a simpleton," responded Mr. Dare, staring at Betsy. 

Joseph gave a rather less complimentary reprimand, and shook the 
girl off. But, suddenly, even as the words left his lips, there rose up 
before his mind's eye the vision of the past evening : the quarrel, the 
threats, the violence between Anthony and Herbert. A strange 
apprehension seated itself in the man's mind. 

" Be still, you donkey ! " he whispered to Betsy, his voice scarcely 
audible, his manner subdued. " I'll go in and see." 

Taking the candle, he went into the dining-room. Mr. Dare 
followed. The worst thought that occurred to Mr. Dare was, that 
Anthony might have taken more wine than was good for him, and 
had fallen down, helpless, in the dining-room. Unhappily, Anthony 

had been known so to transgress. Only a week or two before 

but let that pass : it has nothing to do with us now. 

Mr. Dare followed Joseph in. At the upper end of the room, near 
the window, lay some one on the ground. It was surely Anthony. 
He was lying on his side, his head thrown back, his face up-turned. 
A ghastly face, which sent poor Joseph's pulses bounding on with a 
terrible fear as he looked down at it. The same face which had 
scared Betsy when she looked down. 

* He is stark dead ! " whispered Joseph, with a shiver, to Mr. 
Dare. 



312 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Mr. Dare, his own life-blood seeming to have stopped, bent over 
his son by the light of the candle. Anthony appeared to be not only 
dead, but cold. In his terrible shock, his agitation, he still re- 
membered that it was well, if possible, to spare the sight to his 
wife and daughter. Mrs. Dare and Adelaide, alarmed by Betsy's 
screams, had run downstairs, and were now hastening into the 
room. 

" Go back ! go back ! " cried Mr: Dare, fencing them away with 
his hands. " Adelaide, you must not come in ! Julia," he added to 
his wife, in a tone of imploring entreaty, " go upstairs, and keep back 
Adelaide." 

He half led, half pushed them across the hall. Mrs. Dare had 
never in all her life seen his face as she saw it now — a face of terror. 
She caught the fear; vaguely enough, it must be confessed, for 
she had not heard Anthony's name, as yet, mentioned in connection 
with it. 

" What is it ? " she asked, holding on by the balustrades. " What 
is there in the dining-room ? " 

" I don't know what it is," replied Mr. Dare, from between his 
white lips. " Go upstairs ! Adelaide, go up with your mother." 

Mr. Dare was stopped by more screams. While he was prevent- 
ing immediate terror to his wife and daughter, the lady's maid, her 
curiosity excited beyond repression, had slipped into the dining- 
room, and peeped over Joseph's shoulder. What she had expected 
to see she perhaps could not have stated ; what she did see was so 
far worse than her wildest fears, that she lost sense of everything, 
except the moment's fear; and shriek after shriek echoed from 
her. 

A scene of confusion ensued. Mrs. Dare tried to force her way 
to the room ; Adelaide followed her ; Betsy began bewailing Mr. 
Anthony, by name, in wild words. And the sleepers, above, came 
flocking out of their chambers, with trembling limbs and white 
faces. 

Mr. Dare put his back against the dining-room door. " Girls, 
go back! Julia, go back, for the love of Heaven! Mademoiselle, 
is that you ? Be so good as stay where you are, and keep Rosa and 
Minny with you." 

u Mais, qu'est-ce que c'est, done ? " exclaimed mademoiselle, 
speaking, in her wonder, in her most familiar tongue, and, truth to 
say, paying little heed to Mr. Dare's injunction. " Y a-t-il du mal- 
heur arrive ? " 

Betsy went up to her. Betsy recognized her as one not of the 
family, to whom she could ease her overflowing mind. The same 
thought had occurred to Betsy as to Joseph. " Poor Mr. Anthony's 
lying in there dead, mamzel," she whispered. " Mr. Herbert must 
have killed him." 

Unheeding the request of Mr. Dare, unmindful of the deficiencies 
or want of elegance in her costume, which consisted of what she 
called a peignoir, and a borderless calico nightcap, mademoiselle 



COMMOTION. 



313 



flew down to the hall, and slipped into the dining-room. Some ot 
the others slipped in also, and a sad scene ensued. What with wife, 
governess, servants, and children, Mr. Dare was powerless to end it. 
Mademoiselle went straight up, gave one look, and staggered back 
against the wall. 

" C'est vrai ! " she muttered. " C'est Monsieur Anthony." 

" It is Anthony," shivered Mr. Dare. " I fear — I fear violence 
has been done him." 

The governess was breathing heavily. She looked quite as 
ghastly as did that upturned face. " But why should it be ? " she 
asked, in English. " Who has done it ? " 

Ah, who had done it ! Joseph's frightened face seemed to say 
that he could- tell if he dared. Cyril bounded into the room, and 
clasped one of the arms. But he let it fall again. " It is rigid ! " 
he gasped. " Is he dead ? Father ! he can't be dead ! " 

Mr. Dare hurried Joseph from the room — hurried him across the 
hall to the door. He, Mr. Dare, seemed so agitated as scarcely to 
know what he was about. " Make all haste," he said ; " the nearest 
surgeon." 

" Sir," whispered Joseph, turning when he was outside the door, 
his agitation as great as his master's : " I'm afraid it's Mr. Herbert 
who has done this." 

" Why ? " sharply asked Mr/ Dare. 

" They had a dreadful quarrel this evening, sir, after you left. 
Mr. Herbert drew a knife upon his brother. I got in just in time 
to stop bloodshed, or it might have happened then." 

Mr. Dare suppressed a groan. " Go off, Joseph, and bring a 
doctor here. He may not be past reviving. Milbank is the nearest. 
If he is at home, bring him ; if not, get anybody." 

Joseph, without his hat, sped across the lawn, and gained the 
entrance gate at the very moment that a gig was passing. By the 
light of a lamp, Joseph saw that it contained Mr. Glenn, the surgeon, 
driven by his servant. He had been on a late professional visit into 
the country. Joseph shouted, running before the horse in his 
excitement, and the man pulled up. 

" What's the matter, Joseph ? " asked Mr. Glenn. " Any one ill ? " 

Somewhat curious to say, Mr. Glenn was the usual medical at- 
tendant of the Dares. Joseph explained as well as he could. Mr. 
Anthony had been found lying on the dining-room carpet, to all 
appearance dead. Mr. Glenn descended. 

" Anything up at your place ? " asked a policeman, who had just 
come by, on his beat. 

" I should think there is," returned Joseph. " One of the gentle- 
men's been found dead." 

" Dead ! " echoed the policeman. " Which of them is it ? " he 
asked, after a pause. 

" Mr. Anthony." 

" Why, I saw him turn in here about half-past eleven ! " observed 
the officer. " He is in a fit, perhaps." 



314 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Why do you say that ? " asked Joseph. 

" Because he had been taking a drop too much. He could hardly 
walk. Somebody brought him as far as the gate." 

Mr. Glenn had hastened on. The policeman followed with 
Joseph. Followed, possibly, to gratify his curiosity; possibly, 
because he thought his services might be in some way required. 
When the two entered the dining-room, Mr. Glenn was kneeling 
down to examine Anthony, and sounds of distress came on their 
ears from a distance. They were caused by the hysterics of Mrs. 
Dare. 

" Is he dead, sir ? " asked the policeman, in a low tone. 
" He has been dead these two or three hours," was Mr. Glenn's 
reply. 

But it was not a fit. It was not anything so innocent. Mr. Glenn 
found that the cause of death was a stab in the side. Death, he 
believed, must have been instantaneous ; and the hemorrhage was 
chiefly internal. There were very few stains on the clothes. 

" What's this ? " cried Mr. Glenn. 

He was pulling at some large substance on which Anthony had 
fallen. It proved to be a cloak. Cyril — and some others present — 
recognized it as Herbert's cloak. Where was Herbert ? In bed? 
Was it possible that he could sleep through the noise and confusion 
that the house was in ? 

" Can nothing be done?" asked Mr. Dare of the surgeon. 

Mr. Glenn shook his head. " He is stone dead, you see; dead, 
and nearly cold. He must have been dead more than two hours. 
I should say nearer three." 

From two to three hours ! Then that would bring the time of 
his death to about half-past eleven o'clock; close upon the time 
that the policeman saw him returning home. Some one turned to 
ask the policeman a question, but he had disappeared. Mr. Glenn 
went to see what he could do for Mrs. Dare, whose cries had been 
painful to hear, and Mr. Dare drew Joseph aside. Somehow he 
felt that he dared not question him in the presence of witnesses ; 
lest any condemnatory fact should transpire to bring the guilt home 
to his second son. In spite of the sight of Anthony lying dead 
before him, in spite of what he had heard of the quarrel, he could 
not bring his mind to believe that Herbert had been guilty of this 
most dastardly deed. 

"What time did you let him in? "asked Mr. Dare, pointing to 
his ill-fated son. 

Joseph answered evasively. " The policeman said it was about 
half after eleven, sir." 

" And what time did Mr. Herbert come home ? " 

In point of fact, but for seeing the cloak where he did see it, 
Joseph would not have known whether Mr. Herbert was at home 
yet. He felt there was nothing for it but to tell the simple truth 
to Mr. Dare — that the gentlemen had been in the habit of letting 
themselves in at any hour they pleased, the dining-room window 



COMMOTION. 



3i5 



being left unfastened for them. Joseph made the admission, and 
Mr. Dare received it with anger. 

" I did it by their orders, sir," the man said, with deprecation. 
"If you think ; t was wrong, perhaps you'll put things on a better 
footing for the future. But, to wait up every night till it's pretty 
near time to rise again, is what I can't do, or anybody else. Flesh 
and blood is but mortal, sir, and couldn't stand it." 

" But you were not kept up like that ? " cried Mr. Dare. 

" Yes, sir, I was. If one of the gentlemen wasn't out, the other 
would be. I told them it was impossible I could be up nearly all 
night and every night, and rise in the morning just the same, and 
do my work in the day. So they took to have the dining-room 
window left open, and came in that way, and I went to rest at my 
proper hour. Mr. Cyril and Mr. George, too, they are taking to 
stay out." 

" The house might have been robbed over and over again ! " 
exclaimed Mr. Dare. 

" I told them so, sir. But they laughed at me. They said who'd 
be likely to come through the grounds, and up to the windows 
and try them? At any rate, sir," added Joseph, as a last excuse, 
"they ordered it done. And that's how it is, sir, that I don't 
know what time either Mr. Anthony or Mr. Herbert came in last 
night." 

Mr. Dare said no more. The fruits of the way in which his 
sons had been reared were coming heavily home to him. He turned 
to go upstairs, to Herbert's chamber. On the bottom stairs, sway- 
ing herself to and fro in her peignoir, a staring print, all the colours 
of the rainbow, sat the governess. She lifted her white face as Mr. 
Dare approached. 

"Is he dead?" 

Mr. Dare shook his head. " The surgeon says he has been dead 
ever since the beginning of the night." 
" And Monsieur Herbert ? Is he dead ? " 

"He dead!" repeated Mr. Dare in an accent of alarm, fearing 
possibly, she might have a motive for the question. " What should 
bring him also dead ? Mademoiselle, why do you ask it ? " 

" Eh, me, I don't know," she answered. " I am bewildered with 
it all. Why should he be dead, and not the other ? Why should 
either be dead ? " 

Mr. Dare saw that she did look bewildered ; scarcely in her 
senses. She had a white handkerchief in her hand, and was wiping 
the moisture from her scarcely less white face. " Did you witness 
the quarrel between them ? " he inquired, supposing that she had 
done so, by her words. 

" If I did, I not tell," she vehemently answered, her English less 
clear than usual. "If Joseph say — I hear him say it to you just 
now — that Monsieur Herbert took a knife to his brother, I not give 
testimony to it. What affair is it of mine, that I should tell against 
one or the other ? Who did it ? — who killed him ? "—she rapidly 



316 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



continued. " It was not Monsieur Herbert. No, I will say- 
always that it was not Monsieur Herbert. He would not kill his 
brother." 

" I do not think he would," earnestly spoke Mr. Dare. 

" No, no, no ! " said mademoiselle, her voice rising with her 
emphasis. "He never kill his brother ; he not enough mechant 
for that." 

" Perhaps he has not come in ? " cried Mr. Dare, catching at the 
thought. 

Betsy Carter answered the words. She had stolen up in the 
general restlessness, and halted there. " He must be come in, sir," 
she said ; " else how could his cloak be in the dining-room ? They 
are saying that it's Mr. Herbert's cloak which was under Mr. 
Anthony." 

" What has Mr. Herbert's cloak to do with his coming in or not 
coming in ? " sharply asked Mr. Dare. " He would not be wearing 
his cloak this weather." 

" But he does wear it, sir," returned Betsy. " He went out in it 
to-night." 

" Did you see him ? " sternly asked Mr. Dare. 

" If I hadn't seen him, I couldn't have told that he went out in 
it," independently replied Betsy, who, like her mother, was fond of 
maintaining her own opinion. " I was looking out of the window 
in Miss Adelaide's room, and I saw Mr. Herbert go out by way of 
the dining-room window towards the entrance-gate." 

" Wearing his cloak ? " 

" Wearing his cloak," assented Betsy. " I hoped he was hot 
enough in it." 

The words seemed to carry terrible conviction to Mr. Dare's mind. 
Unwilling to believe the girl, he sought Joseph, and asked him. 

" Yes, for certain," Joseph answered. " Mr. Herbert, as he was 
coming downstairs to go out, stopped to speak to me, sir, and he 
was fastening his cloak on then." 

Minny ran up, bursting with grief and terror, as she seized upon 
Mr. Dare. " Papa ! papa ! is it true ? " she sobbed. 

" Is what true, child ? " 

" That it was Herbert ? They are saying so." 

" Hush ! " said Mr. Dare. Carrying a candle, he went up to Her- 
bert's room, his heart aching. That Herbert could sleep through 
the noise was surprising; and yet, not much so. His room was 
more remote from the house than were the other rooms, and looked 
towards the back. But, had he slept through it ? When Mr. Dare 
went in, he was sitting up in bed, awaking, or pretending to awake, 
from sleep. The window, thrown wide open, may have contributed 
to deaden any sound in the house. " Can you sleep through this, 
Herbert?" cried Mr. Dare. 

Herbert stared, and rubbed his eyes, and stared again, as one 
bewildered. "Is that you, father?" he presently cried. "What 
is it?" 



ACCUSED. 



317 



" Herbert," said his father, in a low tone of pain, of dread ; " what 
have you been doing to your brother ? " 

Herbert, as if not understanding the drift of the question, stared 
more than ever. " I have done nothing to him," he presently said. 
"Do you mean Anthony ? " 

"Anthony is lying on the dining-room floor, killed — murdered. 
Herbert, who did it ? " 

Herbert Dare sat motionless in bed, looking utterly lost. That 
he could not understand, or was affecting not to understand, was 
evident. " Anthony is —what do you say, sir ? " 

" He is dead ; he is murdered? replied Mr. Dare. " Oh, my son, 
my son, say you did not do it ! for the love of heaven, say you did 
not do it ! " And the unhappy father burst into tears, and sank 
down on the bed, utterly unmanned. 



CHAPTER III. 
ACCUSED. 

The grey dawn of the early May morning was breaking over the 
world — over the group gathered in Mr. Dare's dining-room. That 
gentleman, his surviving sons, a stranger, a policeman or two ; and 
Sergeant Delves, who had been summoned to the scene. Sundry 
of the household were going in and out, of their own restless, curious 
accord, or by summons. The sergeant was making inquiries into 
the facts and details of the evening. 

Anthony Dare— as may be remembered — had sullenly retired to 
his room, refusing to go out, when the message came to him from 
Lord Hawkesley. It appeared, by what was afterwards Jearnt, 
that he, Anthony Dare, had made an appointment to meet Lord 
Hawkesley and some other gentlemen at the Star-and-Garter hotel, 
where the viscount was staying; the proposed amusement of the 
evening being cards. Anthony Dare remained in his chamber, 
solacing his chafed temper with brandy-and-water, until the waiter 
from the Star-and-Garter appeared a second time, bearing a note. 
This note Sergeant Delves had found in one of the pockets, and 
had it now open before him. It ran as follows : — 

^ "Dear Dare. — We are all here waiting, and can't make up the 
tables without you. What do you mean by shirking us ? Come 
along, and don't be a month over it. — Yours, 

" Hawkesley." 

This note had prevailed. Anthony, possibly repenting of the 
solitary evening to which he had condemned himself, put on his 
boots again, and went forth : not — it is not pleasant to have to 
record it, but it cannot be concealed — not sober. He had taken 



318 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



ale with his dinner, wine after it, and brandy-and-water in his room. 
The three combined had told upon him. 

On his arrival at the Star-and-Garter, he found six or seven gen- 
tlemen assembled. But, instead of sitting down there in Lord 
Hawkesley's room, it was suddenly decided to adjourn to the lodg- 
ings of a Mr. Brittle, hard by ; a young Oxonian, who had been 
plucked in his Little Go, and was supposed to be reading hard to 
avoid a second similar catastrophe. They went to Mr. Brittle's 
and sat down to cards, over which brandy-and-water and other 
drinks were introduced. Anthony Dare, by way of quenching his 
thirst, did not spare them, and was not particular as to the sorts. 
The consequence was, that he soon became most disagreeable com- 
pany, snarling with all around ; in short, unfit for play. This con- 
tretemps put the rest of the party out of sorts, and they broke up. 
But for that, they might probably have sat on till morning light, 
and that poor unhappy life have been spared. There was no know- 
ing what might have been. Anthony Dare was in no fit state to 
walk alone, and one of them, Mr. Brittle, undertook to see him 
home. Mr. Brittle left him at the gate, and Anthony Dare stum- 
bled over the lawn and gained the house. After that, nothing fur- 
ther was known. So much as this would not have been known, 
but that, in hastening for Delves, the policeman had come across 
Mr. Brittle. It was only natural that the latter, shocked and 
startled, should bend his steps to the scene ; and from him they 
gathered the account of Anthony's movements abroad. 

But now came the difficulty. Who had let Anthony in? No 
one. There was little doubt that he had made his way through the 
dining-room window. Joseph had turned the key of the front door 
at eleven o'clock, and he had not been called upon to open it until 
the return of Mr. and Mrs. Dare. The policeman who happened 
to be passing when Anthony came home — or it may be more cor- 
rect to say, was brought home — testified to the probable fact that 
he had entered by means of the dining-room window. The man 
had watched him : had seen that, instead of making for the front 
door, which faced the road and was in view, he had stumbled across 
the grass, and disappeared down by the side of the house. On this 
side the dining-room window was situated ; therefore it was only 
reasonable to suppose that Anthony had so entered. 

" Had you any motive in watching him ? " asked Sergeant Delves 
of this man. 

" None, except to see that he did not fall," was the reply. • " When 
the gentleman who brought him home loosed his arm, he told him, 
in a joking way, not to get kissing the ground as he went in ; and I 
thought I'd watch him that I might go to his assistance if he did 
fall. He could hardly walk : he pitched about with every step." 

" Did he fall?" 

" No; he managed to keep up. But I should think he was a 
good five minutes getting over the grass plat." 
" Did the gentleman remain to watch him ? " 



ACCUSED. 



319 



" No, not for above a minute. He just waited to see that he got 
safe over the gravel path on to the grass, and then he went back," 

" Did you see any one else come in ? About that time ? — or 
before it ?— or after it ? " 

The man shook his head. " I didn't see any one else at all. I 
shut the gate after Mr. Anthony, and I didn't see it opened again. 
Not but what plenty might have opened and shut it, and gone in, 
too, when I was higher up my beat." 

Sergeant Delves called Joseph. " It appears uncommonly odd 
that you should have heard no noise whatever," he observed. " A 
man's movements are not generally very quiet when in the state 
described as being that of young Mr. Dare's. The probability is, 
that he would enter the dining-room noisily, He'd be nearly sure 
to fall again the furniture, being in the dark." 

" It's certain that I never did hear him," replied Joseph. "We 
was shut up in the kitchen, and I was mostly nodding from the 
time I locked up at eleven till master came home at two. The two 
girls was chattering loud enough ; they was at the table, making-up 
caps, or something of that. The cook went to bed at ten ; she was 
tired." 

" Then, with the exception of vou three, all the household were 
in bed?" 

" All of 'em — as was at home," answered Joseph. " The governess 
had gone early, the two young ladies went about ten, Mr. Cyril and 
Mr. George went soon after ten. They came home from cricket 
' dead beat,' they said, had supper, and went to bed soon after it." 

" It's not usual for them — the young men, I mean — to go to bed 
so early, is it ? " asked Sergeant Delves. 

" No, except on cricket nights," answered Joseph. " After cricket 
they generally come home and have supper, and don't go out again. 
Other nights they are mostly sure to be out late." 

"And you did not hear Mr. Herbert come in ?" 

" Sergeant Delves, I say that I never heard nothing nor nobody 
from the time I locked the front door till master and missis came 
home," reiterated Joseph, growing angry. " Let me repeat it ten 
times over, I couldn't say it plainer. If I had heard either of the 
gentlemen come in, I should have gone to 'em to see if anything 
was wanted. Specially to Mr. Anthony, knowing that he was not 
sober when he went out." 

Two points appeared more particularly to strike Sergeant Delves. 
The one was, that no noise should have been heard ; that a deed 
like this could have been committed in, a? it appeared, absolute 
silence. The other was, that the dining-room window should have 
been found fastened inside. The latter fact confirmed the strong 
suspicion that the offender was an inmate of the house. A person, 
not an inmate of the house, would naturally have escaped by the 
open dining-room window ; but, to do this, and to fasten it inside 
after him, was an impossibility. Every other window in the house, 
every door, had been securely fastened ; some in the earlier part of 



320 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



the evening, some at eleven o'clock by Joseph. Herbert Dare 
voluntarily acknowledged that it was he who had fastened the 
dining-room window. His own account was — and the sergeant 
looked at him narrowly while he gave it — that he had returned 
home late, getting on for two o'clock ; that he had come in through 
the dining-room, and had put down the window fastening. He de- 
clared that he had not seen Anthony. If Anthony had been lying 
there, as he was afterwards found, he, Herbert, had not observed 
him. But, he said, so far as he remembered, he never glanced 
to that part of the room at all, but had gone straight through on the 
other side, between the table and the fireplace. And, if he had 
glanced to it, he could have seen nothing, for the room was dark. 
He had no light, and had to feel his way. 

" Was it usual for the young gentlemen to fasten the window ? " 
Sergeant Delves asked of Joseph, And Joseph replied that they 
sometimes did, sometimes did not. If by any chance Mr. Anthony 
and Mr. Herbert came in together, then they would fasten it ; or 
if, when the one came in, he knew that the other was not out, he 
would equally fasten it. Mr. Cyril and Mr- George did not often 
come in that way ; in fact, they were not out so late, generally 
speaking, as were their brothers. 

" Precisely so," Herbert assented, with reference to the fastening. 
He had fastened it, believing his brother Anthony to be at home 
and in bed. When he went out the previous evening, Anthony had 
already gone to his room, expressing his intention not to leave it 
again that night. 

Sergeant Delves inquired — no doubt for reasons of his own — 
whether this expressed intention on the part of Anthony could be 
testified to by any one besides Herbert. Yes. By Joseph, by the 
governess, by Rosa and Mmny Dare ; all four had heard him say 
it. The sergeant would not trouble the young ladies, but requested 
to speak to the governess. 

The governess was indignant at the request being made. She was 
in and out amongst them with her white face, in her many-coloured 
peignoir. She had been upstairs and partially dressed herself ; had 
discarded the calico night-cap and done her hair, put on the peignoir 
again, and come down to see and to listen. But she did not like 
being questioned. 

" I know nothing about it," she said to the sergeant, speaking 
vehemently. " What should I know about it ? I will tell you 
nothing. I went to bed before it was well nine o'clock ; I had the 
headache; and I never heard anything more till the commotion 
began. Why you ask me ? " 

" But you can surely tell, ma'am, whether or not you heard Mr. 
Anthony say he was going to his chamber for the night ? " remon- 
strated the sergeant. 

" Yes, he did say it," she answered vehemently. " He said it in 
the salon. He kicked off his boots, and told Joseph to bring his 
slippers, and to take brandy-and-water to his room, for he should 



ACCUSED. 



321 



liot leave it again that night. I never thought or knew that he had 
left it, until I saw him lying in the dining-room, and they said he 
was dead." 

" Was Mr. Herbert present when he said he should go to his room 
for the night ? " 

"He was present, I think : I think he had come in then to the 
salon. That is all I know. I made the tea, and then my head got 
bad, and I went to bed. I can tell you nothing further." 

" Did you hear any noise in the house, ma'am ? " 

" No. If there was any noise I did not notice it. I soon went to 
sleep. Where is the use of your asking me these things ? You 
should ask those who sat up. I shall be sick if you make me talk 
about it. Nothing of this ever arrived in any family where I have 
been before." 

The sergeant allowed her to retire. She went to the stairs and 
sat down on the lower step, and leaned her cheek upon her hand, all 
as she had done previously. Mr. Dare asked her why she did not 
go upstairs, away from the confusion and bustle of the sad scene ; 
but she shook her head. She did not care to be in her chamber 
alone, she answered, and her pupils were shut in with Madame Dare 
and Mademoiselle Adelaide. 

It is possible that one thing puzzled the sergeant : though what 
puzzled him and what did not puzzle him had to be left to conjecture, 
for he said nothing about it. No weapon had been found. The 
policemen had been searching the room thoroughly, had partly 
searched the house ; but had come upon no instrument likely to 
have inflicted the wound. A carving-knife or common table-knife 
had been suggested, remembering the previous occurrences of the 
evening ; but Mr. Glenn's decided opinion was, that it must have 
been a very different instrument ; some slender, sharp-pointed, two- 
edged blade, he thought, about six inches in length. 

The most suspicious evidence, referring to Herbert, was the cloak. 
The sergeant had examined it curiously, with compressed lips. 
Herbert disposed of this, so far as he was concerned — that is, if 
he was to be believed. He said that he had put his cloak on, 
had gone out in it as far as the entrance gate ; but finding it warmer 
than was agreeable, he had turned back, and flung it on to the dining- 
room table, going in, as he had come out, through the window. He 
added, as a little bit of confirmatory evidence, that he remembered 
seeing the cloak begin to slide off the table again, that he saw it 
must fall to the ground ; but, being in a hurry, he would not stop to 
prevent it doing so, or to pick it up. 

The sergeant never seemed to take his sidelong glance from 
Herbert Dare. He had gone to work in his own way ; hearing the 
different accounts and conjectures, sifting this bit of evidence, turn- 
ing about that, holding a whispered colloquy with the man who had 
been sent to examine Herbert's room : holding a longer whispered 
colloquy with Herbert himself. On the departure of the surgeon 
and Mr. Brittle, who had gone away together, he had marched to 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 21 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



the front and side doors of the house, locked them, and put the keys 
into his pocket. " Nobody goes out of this without my permission," 
quoth he. 

Then he took Mr. Dare aside. " There's no mistake about this, 
I fear," said he gravely. 

Mr. Dare knew what he meant. He himself was growing grievously 
faint-hearted. But he would not say so ; he would not allow it to 
be seen that he cast, or could cast, a suspicion on Herbert. "It 
appears to me that — that — if poor Anthony was in the state they 
describe, that he may have sat down or laid down after entering the 
dining-room, and dropped asleep," observed Mr. Dare. " Easy, then 
— the window being left open — for some midnight housebreaker from 
the street to have come in and attacked him." 

" Pooh ! " said Sergeant Delves. " It is no housebreaker that has 
done this. We have a difficult line of duty to perform at times, us 
police; and all we can do to soften matters, is to go to work as 
genteelly as is consistent with the law. I'm sorry to have to say 
it, Mr. Dare, but I have felt obliged to order my men to keep a look- 
out on Mr. Herbert." 

A chill ran through Mr. Dare. " It could not have been Herbert ! " 
he rejoined, his tone one of pain, almost of entreaty. " Mr. Glenn 
says it could not have been done later than half-past eleven, or so. 
Herbert never came home until nearly two." 

" Who is to prove that he was not at home till near two ? " 

"He says he was not. I have no doubt it can be proved. And 
poor Anthony was dead more than two hours before." 

" Now, look you here," cried Sergeant Delves, falling back on a 
favourite phrase of his. " Mr. Glenn is correct enough as to the 
time of the occurrence : I have had some experience in death myself, 
and I'm sure he is not far out. But let that pass. Here are witnesses 
who saw him alive at half-past eleven o'clock, and you come home 
at two and find him dead. Now, let your son Herbert just state 
where he was from half-past eleven till two. He says he was out : 
not near home at all. Very good. Only let him mention the place, 
so that we can verify it, and find, beyond dispute, that he was out, and 
the suspicion against him will be at an end. But he won't do this." 

" Not do it ? " echoed Mr. Dare. 

" He tells me point-blank that he can't and he won't. I asked 
him." 

Mr. Dare turned impetuously to the room where he had left his 
second son — his eldest son now. " Here, Herbert" — he was begin- 
ning. But the officer cut short the words by drawing him back. 

"Don't go and make matters worse," whispered he: "perhaps 
they'll be bad enough without it. Now, Lawyer Dare, you'll do well 
not to turn obstinate, for I am giving you a bit of friendly advice. 
You and I have had many a transaction together, and I don't mind 
going a bit out of my way for you, as I wouldn't do for other people. 
The worst thing your son could do, would be to say before those 
chattering servants that he can't or won't tell where he has been all 



ACCUSED. 



323 



night, or half the night. It would be self-condemnation at once. 
Ask him in private, if you must ask him." 

Mr. Dare called his son to him, and Herbert answered to it. A 
policeman was sauntering after him, but the sergeant gave him a 
nod, and the man went back. 

" Herbert, you say you did not come in until near two this morning." 

" Neither did I. It wanted about twenty minutes to it. The 
churches struck half-past one as I came through the town." 

" Where did you stay ? " 

" Well — I can't say," replied Herbert. 

Mr. Dare grew agitated. " You must say, Herbert," he hoarsely 
whispered, " or take the consequences." 

" I can't help the consequences," was Herbert's answer. " Where 
I was last night is no matter to any one, and I shall not say." 

" Your not saying — if you can say — is just folly," interposed the 
sergeant. " It's the first question the magistrates will ask when you 
are placed before them." 

Herbert looked up angrily. " Place me before the magistrates ! " 
he echoed. " What do you mean ? You will not dare to take me 
into custody ! " 

" You have been in custody this half-hour," coolly returned the 
sergeant. 

Herbert looked terribly fierce. " I will not submit to this in- 
dignity," he exclaimed. " I will not. Sergeant Delves, you are 
overstepping " 

" Look here," interrupted the sergeant, drawing something from 
some unseen receptacle; and Mr. Herbert, to his dismay, caught 
sight of a pair of handcuffs. " Don't you force me to use them," 
said the officer. "You are in custody, and must go before the 
magistrates ; but now, you be a gentleman, and I'll use you as one." 

" I protest upon my honour that I have had neither act nor part 
in this crime ! " cried Herbert, in agitation. "Do you think I would 
stain my hand with the sin of Cain ? " 

" What is that on your hand ? " asked the sergeant, bending for- 
ward to look more closely at Herbert's fingers. 

Herbert held them out, openly enough. " I was doing something 
last night which tore my fingers," he said. " I was trying to undo 
the fastenings of some wire. Sergeant Delves, I declare to you 
solemnly, that from the moment when my brother went to his 
chamber, as witnesses have stated to you, I never saw him, until 
my father brought me down from my bed to see him lying dead." 

" You drew a knife on him not maily hours before, you know, Mr. 
Herbert ! " 

" It was done in the heat of passion. He provoked me very much : 
but I should not have used it. No, poor fellow ! I should never have 
injured him." 

" Well, you only make your tale good to the magistrates," was 
all the sergeant's answer. " It will be their affair as soon as you are 
before them — not mine." 



324 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Herbert Dare was handed back to the policeman ; and, as soon 
as the justice-room opened, was conveyed before the magistrates — 
all, as the sergeant termed it — in a genteel, gentlemanly sort of way. 
He was charged with the murder of his brother Anthony. 

To describe the commotion that spread over Helstonleigh would 
be beyond any pen. The college boys were in a strange state of 
excitement : both Anthony and Herbert Dare had been college boys 
themselves not so very long ago. Gar Halliburton — who was no 
longer a college boy, but a supernumerary — went home full of it. 
Having imparted it there, he thought he could not do better than 
go in and regale Patience with the news, by way of divertissement 
to her sick bed. " May I come up, Patience ? " he called out from 
the foot of the stairs. " I have something to tell you." 

Receiving permission, up he flew. Patience, partially raised, 
was sewing with her hands, which she could just contrive to do. 
Anna sat by the window, putting the buttons on some new shirts. 

" I have finished two," cried she, turning round to Gar in great 
glee. " And my father's coming home next week, he writes us 
word. Perhaps thy mother has had a letter from William. Look 
at the shirts ! " she continued, exhibiting them. 

" Never mind bothering about shirts, now, Anna," returned Gar, 
losing sight of his gallantry in his excitement. " Patience, the most 
dreadful thing has happened. Anthony Dare's murdered ! " 

Patience, calm Patience, only looked at Gar. Perhaps she did 
not believe it. Anna's hands, holding out the shirts, were arrested 
midway : her mouth and blue eyes alike opening. 

"He was murdered in their dining-room in the night," went on 
Gar, intent only on his tale. " The town is all up in arms ; you 
never saw such an uproar. When we came out of school just now, 
we thought the French must have come to invade us, by the crowds 
there were in the street. You couldn't get near the Guildhall, 
where the examination was going on. Not more than half a dozen 
of us were able to fight our way in. Herbert Dare looked so pale ; 
he was standing there, guarded by three policemen " 

" Thee hast a fast tongue, Gar," interrupted Patience. " Dost thee 
mean to say Herbert Dare was in custody ? " 

" Of course he was," replied Gar, faster than before. " It is he 
who has done it. At least, he is accused of it. He and Anthony 
had a quarrel yesterday, and it came to knives. They were parted 
then ; but he is supposed to have laid wait for Anthony in the night 
and killed him." 

" Is Anthony dead ? Is he Anna ! what hast thee ? " 

Anna had dropped the shirts and the buttons. Her blue eyes 
had closed, her lips and cheeks had grown white, her hands fell 
powerless. " She is fainting ! " shouted Gar, as he ran to support 
her. 

" Gar, dear," said Patience, " thee shouldst not tell ill news quite 
so abruptly. Thee hast made me feel queer. Canst thee stretch 
thy hand out to the bell ? It will bring up Hester." 



( 3 2 5 ) 



CHAPTER IV. 

COMMITTED FOR TRIAL, 

Helstonleigh could not recover its equanimity. Never had it 
been so rudely shaken. Incidents there had been as startling; 
crimes of as deep a dye ; but, taking it with all its attendant cir- 
cumstances, no occurrence, in the memory of the oldest inhabitant, 
had excited the interest that was attaching to the death and assumed 
murder of Anthony Dare. 

The social standing of the parties, above that in which such 
unhappy incidents are more generally found ; the conspicuous 
position they occupied in the town ; and the very uncertainty — the 
mystery, it may be said — in which the affair was wrapped, wrought 
local curiosity to the highest point. 

Scarcely a shadow of doubt rested on the public mind that the 
deed had been done by Herbert Dare. The police force, actively 
engaged in searching out all the details, held the same opinion. 
In one sense, this was, perhaps, unfortunate; for, when strong 
suspicion, whether of the police or of the public, is especially 
directed to one isolated point, it inevitably tends to keep down 
doubts that might arise in regard to other quarters. 

It seemed scarcely possible to hope that Herbert was not guilty. 
All the facts tended to the assumption that he was so. There was 
the ill-feeling known to have existed between himself and his 
brother; the quarrel and violence in the dining-room not many 
hours before, in which quarrel Herbert had raised a knife upon 
him. " But for the entrance of the servant Joseph," said the people, 
one to another, " the murder might have been done then." Joseph 
had stopped evil consequences at the time, but he had not stopped 
Herbert's mouth — the threat he had uttered in his passion — still 
to be revenged. Terribly those words told now against Herbert 
Dare. 

Another thing that told against him, and in a most forcible 
manner, was the cloak. That he had put it on to go out ; nay, had 
been seen to go out in it by the housemaid, was indisputable ; and 
his brother was found lying on this very cloak. In vain Herbert 
protested, when before the magistrates and at the coroner's inquest, 
that he returned before leaving the gates, and had flung this cloak 
into the dining-room, finding it too hot that evening to wear. 
He obtained no credit. He had not been seen to do this ; and the 
word of an accused man goes for little. All ominous, these things 
— all telling against him, but nothing, taking them collectively, as 
compared with his refusal to state where he was, that night. He 
left the house between eight and nine, close upon nine, he thought ; 
he was not sure Qf the exact time to a quarter of an hour \ a,nd 



326 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



he never returned to it until nearly two. Such was his account. 
But, where he had been in the interim, he positively refused to 
state. 

It was only his assertion, you see, against the broad basis of 
suspicion. Anthony Dare's death must have taken place, as testified 
by Mr. Glenn, somewhere about half-past eleven ; who was to prove 
that Herbert at that time was not at home ? "I was not," Herbert 
reiterated, when before the coroner. " I did not return home till 
between half-past one and two. The churches struck the half-hour 
as I was coming through the town, and it would take me afterwards 
some ten minutes to reach home. It must have been about twenty 
minutes to two when I entered." 

" But where were you ? Where had you been ? Where did you 
come from ? " he was asked. 

" That I cannot state," he replied. " I was out upon a little 
business of my own; business that concerns no one but myself; and 
I decline to make it public." 

On that score nothing more could be obtained from him. The 
coroner drew his own conclusions ; the jury drew theirs; the police 
had already drawn theirs, and very positive ones. 

These were the two facts that excited the ire of Sergeant Delves 
and his official colleagues : with all their searching, they could find 
no weapon likely to have been the one used ; and they could not 
discover where Herbert Dare had gone to that evening. It happened 
that no one remembered to have seen him passing in the town, early 
or late; or, if they had seen him, it had made no impression on 
their memory. The appearance of Mr. Dare's sons was so common 
an occurrence that no especial note was likely to have been taken 
of it. Herbert declared that in passing through West Street, Turtle, 
the auctioneer, was leaning out at his open bedroom window, and 
that he, Herbert, had called out to him, and asked whether he was 
star-gazing. Mr. Turtle, when applied to, could not corroborate 
this. He believed that he kadbeen looking out at his window that 
night ; he believed that it might have been about the hour named, 
getting on for two, for he was late going to bed, having been to a 
supper party ; but he had no recollection whatever of seeing Mr. 
Herbert pass, or of having been spoken to by him, or by any one 
else. When pressed upon the point, Mr. Turtle acknowledged that 
his intellects might not have been in the clearest state of perception, 
the supper party having been a jovial one. 

One of the jury remarked that it was very singular the prisoner 
could go through the dining-room, and not observe his brother 
lying in it. The prisoner replied that it was not singular at all. 
The room was in darkness, and he had felt his way through it on 
the opposite side of the table to that where his brother was after- 
wards found. He had gone straight through, and up to his chamber, 
as quietly as possible, not to disturb the house; and he dropped 
asleep as soon as he was in bed. 

The verdict returned was "Wilful murder against Herbert Dare j" 



COMMITTED FOR TRIAL. 



327 



and he was committed to the county gaol to take his trial at the 
assizes. Mr. Dare's house was beyond the precincts of the city. 
Sergeant Delves and his men renewed their inquiries; but they 
could discover no trace, either of the weapon, or of where Herbert 
Dare had passed the suspicious hours. The sergeant was vexed ; 
but he would not allow that he was beaten. " Only give us time," 
said he, with a characteristic nod. " The Pyramids of Egypt were 
only built up stone by stone." 

Tuesday morning — the morning fixed for the funeral of Anthony 
Dare. The curious portion of Helstonleigh wended its way up to 
the churchyard ; as it is the delight of the curious portion of a town 
to do. What a sad sight it was ! That dark object, covered by its 
pall, carried by its attendants, followed by the mourners ; Mr. Dare, 
and his sons Cyril and George. He, the father, bent his face in 
his handkerchief, as he walked behind the coffin to the grave. 
Many a man in Helstonleigh enjoyed a higher share of esteem and 
respect than did Lawyer Dare ; but not one present, in that crowded 
churchyard, that did not feel for him in his bitter grief. Not one, 
let us hope, that did not feel to his heart's core the fate of the 
unhappy Anthony, now, for weal or for woe, to answer before his 
Maker for his life on earth. 

That same day, Tuesday, witnessed the return of Samuel Lynn 
and William Halliburton. They arrived in the evening, and of 
course the first news they were greeted with was the prevailing topic. 
Few things caused the ever-composed Quaker to betray surprise ; 
but William was half-stunned with the news. Anthony Dare dead 
— murdered — buried that very day ; and Herbert in prison, awaiting 
his trial for the offence ! To William the whole affair seemed more 
incredible than real. 

" Sir," he said to his master, when, the following morning, they 
were alone together in the counting-house at the manufactory, " do 
you believe Herbert Dare can be guilty?" 

Mr. Ashley had been gazing at William, lost in thought. The 
change we often see, or fancy we see, in a near friend, after a few 
weeks' absence, was apparent in William. He had improved in 
looks ; and yet those looks, with their true nobility, both of form and 
intellect, had been scarcely capable of improvement. Nevertheless, 
it was there, and Mr. Ashley had been struck with it. 

" I cannot say," he replied, aroused by the question. " Facts 
appear conclusively against him; but it seems incredible that he 
should so have lost himself. To be suspected and committed on 
such a charge is grief enough, without the reality of the guilt." 

" So it is," acquiesced William. 

"We feel the disgrace very keenly — as all must who are con- 
nected with the Dares in ever so remote a degree. / feel it, Wil- 
liam; feel it as a blow; Mrs. Ashley is the cousin of Anthony- 
Dare." 

" They are relatives of ours also," said William in a low tone, 
" My father was first cousin to Mrs. Dare," 



3^8 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Mr. Ashley looked at him with surprise. " Your father first 
cousin to Mrs. Dare ! " he repeated. " What are you saying? " 

" Her first cousin, sir. You have heard of old Mr. Cooper, of 
Birmingham ? " 

"From whom the Dares inherited their money. Well?" 

" Mr. Cooper had a brother and a sister. Mrs. Dare was the 
daughter of the brother ; the sister married the Reverend William 
Halliburton, and my father was their son. Mrs. Dare, as Julia 
Cooper, and my father, Edgar Halliburton, both lived together for 
some time under their uncle's roof at Birmingham." 

A moment's pause, and then Mr. Ashley laid his hand on Wil- 
liam's shoulder. " Then that brings a sort of relationship between 
us, William. I shall have a right to feel pride in you now." 

William laughed. But his cheek flushed with the pleasure of a 
more earnest feeling. His greatest earthly wish was to be appre- 
ciated by Mr. Ashley. 

" How is it I never heard of this relati onship before ? " cried Mr. 
Ashley. " Was it purposely concealed ? " 

"It is only within a year or two that I have known of it," replied 
William. " Frank and Gar are not aware of it yet. When we first 
came to Helstonleigh, the Dares were much annoyed at it ; and 
they made it known to my mother in so unmistakable a manner, 
that she resolved to drop all mention of the relationship ; she would 
have dropped the relationship itself if she could have done so. It 
was natural, perhaps, that they should feel annoyed," continued 
William, seeking to apologize for them. " They were rich and 
great in the eyes of the town ; we were poor and obscure." 

Mr. Ashley was casting his recollections backwards. A certain 
event, which had always somewhat puzzled him, was becoming 
clear now. " William, when Anthony Dare — acting, as he said, for 
me — put that seizure into your house for rent, it must have been 
done with the view of driving you from the town ? " 

" My mother says she has always thought so, sir." 

"I see; I see. Why, William, half the inheritance, enjcyed by 
the Dares, ought justly to have been your father's ! " 

"We shall do as well without it, in the long-run, sir," replied 
William, a bright smile illumining his face. " Hard though the 
struggle was at the beginning ! " 

" Ay, that you will ! " warmly returned Mr. Ashley. " The ways 
of Providence are wonderful ! Yes, William — and I know you have 
been taught to think so — what men call the chances of the world, 
are all God's dealings. Reflect on the circumstances favouring the 
Dares ; reflect on your own drawbacks and disadvantages ! They 
had wealth, position, a lucrative profession ; everything, in fact, to 
help them on, that can be desired by a family in middle-class life ; 
whilst you had poverty, obscurity, and toil to contend with. But 
now, look at what they are! Mr. Dare's money is dissipated; he 
is overwhelmed with embarrassment — I know it to be a fact, Wil- 
liam ; but this is for your par alone. Folly, recklessness, irreligion, 



COMMITTED FOR TRIAL. 



329 



reign in his house; his daughters lost in pretentious vanity; his 
sons in something worse. In a few years they will have gone 
down — down. Yes," added Mr. Ashley, pointing with his finger to 
the floor of his counting-house, " down to the dogs. I can see it 
coming, as surely as that the sun is in the heavens. You and they 
will have exchanged positions, William ; nay, you and yours, unless 
I am greatly mistaken, will be in a far higher position than they 
have ever occupied ; for you will have secured the favour of God, 
and the approbation of all good men." 

" That Frank and Gar will attain to a position in time, I should 
be worse than a heathen to doubt, looking back on the wonderful 
manner in which we have been helped on," thoughtfully observed 
William. " For myself I am not sanguine." 

" Do you never cherish dreams on your own account? " inquired 
Mr. Ashley. 

" If I do, sir, they are vague dreams. My position affords no 
scope for ambition." 

" I don't know that," said Mr. Ashley. " Would you not be 
satisfied to become one of the great manufacturers of this great 
city ? " he continued, laughing. 

" Not unless I could be one of the greatest. Such as " 

William stopped. 

" Myself, for instance ? " quietly put in Mr. Ashley. 

" Yes, indeed," answered William, lifting his earnest eyes to his 
master. " Were it possible that I could ever attain to be as you 
are, sir, in all things — in character, in position, in the estimation 
of my fellow-citizens — it would be sufficient ambition for me, and I 
should sit down content." 

" Not you," cried Mr. Ashley. " You would then be casting your 
thoughts to serving your said fellow-citizens in Parliament, or some 
such exalted vision. Man's nature is to soar, you know ; it cannot 
rest. As soon as one object of ambition is attained, others are 
sought after." 

" So far as I go, we need not discuss it," was William's answer. 
" There's no chance of my ever becoming even a second-rate manu- 
facturer ; let alone what you are, sir." 

" The next best thing to being myself, would perhaps be that of 
being my partner, William." 

The voice in which his master spoke was so significant, that 
William's face flushed to crimson. Mr. Ashley noticed it. 

" Did that ambition ever occur to you ? " 

" No, sir, never. That honour is looked upon as being destined 
for Cyril Dare." 

" Indeed ! " calmly repeated Mr. Ashley. " If you could transform 
your nature into Cyril, I do not say but that it might be so in 
time." 

" He expects it himself, sir." 

" Would he be a worthy associate for me, think you ? " inquired 
Mr. Ashley, bending his gaze full on William 



330 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



William made no reply. Perhaps none was expected, for his 
master resumed : 

" I do not recommend you to indulge that particular dream of 
ambition; I cannot see sufficiently into the future. It is my inten- 
tion to push you somewhat on in the world. I have no son to 
advance," he added, an expression of sadness crossing his face. 
" All I can do for my boy is to leave him at ease after me. There- 
fore I may, if I live, advance you in his stead. Provided, William, 
you continue to deserve it." 

A smile parted William's lips. That, he would ever strive for, 
heaven helping him. 

Mr. Ashley again laid his hand on William, and gazed into his 
face. " I have had a wonderful account of you from Samuel Lynn. 
And it is not often the Friend launches into decided praise." 

" Oh, have you, sir ? " returned William with animation. " I am 
glad he was pleased with me." 

" He was more than pleased. But I must not forget that I was 
charged with a message from Henry. He is outrageous at your not 
having gone to him last night. I shall be sending him to France 
one of these days, under your escort, William. It may do him 
good, in more ways than one." 

" I will come to Henry this evening, sir. I must leave him, 
though, for half an hour, to go round to East's." 

" Your conscience is engaged, I see. You know what Henry 
accused you of, the last time you left him to go to East's ? " 

" Of being enamoured of Charlotte," said William, laughing in 
answer to Mr. Ashley's smile. " I will come, at any rate, sir, and 
battle the other matter out with Henry." 



CHAPTER V. 

A BRUISED HEART. 

If it were a hopeless task to attempt to describe the consternation 
of Helstonleigh at the death of Anthony Dare, far more difficult 
would it be to picture that of Anna Lynn. Believe Herbert guilty, 
Anna did not ; she could scarcely have believed that, had an angel 
come down from heaven to affirm it. Her state of mind was not to 
be envied ; suspense, sorrow, anxiety filled it, causing her to be in 
a grievous state of restlessness. She had to conceal this from the 
eyes of Patience ; from the eyes of the world. For one thing, she 
could not get at the correct particulars ; newspapers did not come 
in her way, and she shrank, in her self-consciousness, from asking. 
Her whole being — if we may dare to say it here — was wrapt in 
Herbert Dare; father, friends, home, country; she could have sacri- 
ficed them all to save him. She would have laid down her life for 
his. Her good sense was distorted, her judgment warped : she saw 



A BRUISED HEART. 



331 



passing events, not with the eye of dispassionate fact, or with any 
fact at all, but through the unhealthy tinge of fond, blind prejudice. 
The blow had almost crushed her ; the dread suspense was wearing 
out her heart. She seemed no longer the same careless child as 
before ; in a few hours she had overstepped the barrier of girlish 
timidity, and had gained the experience which is bought with 
sorrow. 

On the evening mentioned in the last chapter, just before William 
went out to keep his appointment with Henry Ashley, he saw from 
the window, Anna, in his mother's garden, bending over the flowers, 
and glancing up at him. Glancing, as it struck William, with a 
strangely wistful expression. He went out to her. 

" Tending the flowers, Anna ? " 

She turned to him, her fair young face utterly colourless. "I 
have been so wanting to see thee, William ! I came here, hoping 
thee wouldst come out. At dinner time I was here, and thee only 
nodded to me from the window. I did not like to beckon to thee." 

" I am sorry to have been so stupid, Anna. What is it ? " 

"Thee hast heard what has happened — that dreadful thing! 
Hast thee heard it all ? " 

" I believe so. All that is known." 

" I want thee to tell it me. Patience won't talk of it ; Hester 
only shakes her head ; and I am afraid to ask Gar. Thee tell it to 
me." 

" It would not do you good to know it, Anna," he gravely said. 
" Better try and not think " 

" William, hush thee ! " she feverishly exclaimed. " Thee knew 
there was a — a friendship between me and him. If I cannot learn 
all there is to be learnt, I shall die." 

William looked down at the changing cheek, the eyes full of pain, 
the trembling hands, clasped in their eagerness. It might be better 
to tell her than to leave her in this state of suspense. 

" William, there is no one in the wide world that knows he cared 
for me, but thee," she imploringly resumed. " Thee must tell me ; 
thee must tell me ! " 

" You mean that you want to hear the particulars of — of what 
took place on Thursday night ? " 

" Yes. All. Then, and since. I have but heard snatches of the 
wicked tale." 

He obeyed her : telling her all the broad facts, but suppressing a 
few of the details. She leaned against the garden-gate, listening in 
silence ; her face turned from him, looking through the bars into the 
field. 

" Why do they not believe him ? " was her first comment, spoken 
sharply and abruptly. "He says he was not near the house at 
the time the act must have been done : why do they not believe 
him?" 

" It is easy to assert a thing, Anna. But the law requires proof." 
" Proof ? That he must declare to them where he had been ? " 



332 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Undoubtedly. And corroborative proof must also be given." 

" But what sort of proof ? I do not understand their laws." 

" Suppose Herbert Dare asserted that he had spent those hours 
with me, for instance ; then I must go forward at the trial and con- 
firm his assertion. Also any other witnesses who may have seen 
him with me, if there were any. It would be establishing what is 
called an alibi? 

" And would they acquit him then ? Suppose there were only 
one witness to speak for him ? Would one be sufficient ? " 

" Certainly. Provided the witness were trustworthy." 

" If a witness went forward and declared it now, would they 
release him ? " 

" Impossible. He is committed to take his trial at the assizes, 
and he cannot be released beforehand. It is exceedingly unwise of 
him not to declare where he was that evening — if he can do so." 

" Where do the public think he was ? What do they say ? " 

" I am afraid the public, Anna, think that he was not out any- 
where. At any rate, after eleven or half-past." 

" Then they are very cruel ! " she passionately exclaimed. " Do 
they all think that ? " 

" There may be a few who judge that it was as he says ; that he 
was really away, and is, consequently, innocent." 

" And where do they think he was ? " eagerly responded Anna 
again. "Do they suspect any place where he might have been ? " 

William made no reply. It was not at all expedient to impart 
to her all the gossip or surmises of the town. But his silence 
seemed to agitate her more than any reply could have done. She 
turned to him, trembling with emotion, the tears streaming down 
her face. 

" Oh, William ! tell me what is thought ! Tell me, I implore 
thee ! Thee cannot leave me in this trouble. Where is it thought 
he was ? " 

He took her hands ; he bent over her as tenderly as any brother 
could have done ; he read all too surely how opposite to the truth 
had been her former assertion to him — that she did not care for 
Herbert Dare. 

" Anna, child, you must not agitate yourself in this way : there 
is no just cause for doing so. I assure you I do not know where it 
is thought Herbert Dare may have been that night ; neither, so far 
as can be learnt, does any one else know. It is the chief point — 
where he was — that is puzzling the town." 

She laid her head down on the gate again, closing her eyes, as in 
very weariness. William's heart ached for her. 

"He may not be guilty, Anna," was all the consolation he could 
find to offer. 

" May not be guilty ! " she echoed in a tone of pain. "He is not 
guilty. William, I tell thee he is not. Dost thee think I would 
defend him if he could do so wicked a thing ? " 

He did not dispute the point with her; he did not tell her that 



ONE DYING IN HONEY FAIR. 



333 



her assumption of his innocence was inconsistent with the facts of 
the case. Presently Anna resumed. 

" Why must he remain in gaol till the trial ? There was that 
man who stole the skins from Thomas Ashley — they let him out, 
when he was taken, until the sessions came on, and then he went 
up for trial." 

" That man was out on bail. But they do not take bail in cases 
so grave as this." 

" I may not stay longer. There's Hester coming to call me in. 
I rely upon thee to tell me anything fresh that may arise," she said, 
lifting her beseeching eyes to his. 

" One word, Anna, before you go. And yet, I see how worse 
than useless it is to say it to you now. You must forget Herbert 
Dare." 

" I shall forget him, William, when I cease to have memory," she 
whispered. " Never before. Thee wilt keep my counsel ? " 
" Truly and faithfully." 

" Fare thee well, William ; I have no friend but thee." 

She ran swiftly into their own premises. William turned to 
pursue his way to Mr. Ashley's, the thought of Henry Ashley's 
misplaced attachment lying on his mind as an incubus. 



CHAPTER VI. 

ONE DYING IN HONEY FAIR. 

Mrs. Buffie stood in what she called her "back'us," practically 
superintending a periodical wash. The day was hot, and the steam 
was hot, and, as Mrs. Buffle rubbed away, she began to think she 
should never be cool again. 

" Missis," shrieked out a young voice from the precincts of the 
shop, " Ben Tyrrett's wife says will you let her have a gill o' 
vinegar ? Be I to serve it ? " 

The words came from the small damsel who was had in to help 
on cleaning and washing days. Mrs. Buffle kept her hands still in 
the soapsuds, and projected her hot face over the tub to answer. 

" Matty, tell Mary Ann Tyrrett as she promised faithful to bring 
me something off her score this week, but I've not seen the colour 
of it yet." 

" She says as it's to put to his head," called back Matty, alluding 
to the present demand. " He's bad a-bed, and have fainted right 
off." 

" Serve him right," responded Mrs. Buffle. " You may give her 
the vinegar, Matty. Tell her as it's a penny farthing. I heered he 
had been drinking again," she added to herself and the washing tub, 
" and laid hisself down in the wet road the night afore last, and was 
found there in the morning." 



334 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



Later in the day, it happened that William Halliburton was 
passing through Honey Fair, and met Charlotte East. She stopped 
him, " Have you heard, sir, that Tyrrett is dying?" she asked. 

" Tyrrett dying ! " repeated William in amazement. " Who says 
he is ? " 

" The doctor says it, I believe, sir. I must say he looks like it. 
Mary Ann sent for me, and I have been down to see him." 

" Why, what can be the matter with him ? " asked William. "He 
was at work the day before yesterday ! " 

"He was at work, sir, but he could not speak, they tell me, for 
that illness that has been hanging about him so long, and had 
settled on his chest. That night after leaving work, instead of 
going home and getting a basin of gruel, or something of that sort, 
he went to the Horned Ram, and drank there till he couldivt keep 
upright." • 

" With his chest in that state ! " 

" And that was not the worst," resumed Charlotte. "It had been 
a wet day, if you remember, sir, and he somehow strayed into 
Oxlip Lane, and fell down, and lay there till morning. What with 
drink, and what with exposure to the wet, his chest grew danger- 
ously inflamed, and now the doctor says he has not many hours to 
live." 

" I am sorry to hear it," cried William. " Is he sensible ? " 

"Too sensible, sir, in one sense," replied Charlotte. " His remorse 
is dreadful. He is saying that if he had not misspent his life, he 
might have died a good man, instead of a bad one." 

William passed on, much concerned at the news. His way led 
him past Ben Tyrrett's lodgings, and he turned in. Mary Ann was 
sobbing and wailing, in the midst of as many curious and condoling 
neighbours as the kitchen would contain. All were in full gossip — 
as might be expected. Mrs. Cross had taken home the three 
little children, by way of keeping the place quiet ; and the sick man 
was lying in the room above, surrounded by several of his fellow- 
workmen, who had heard of his critical state. 

Some of the women sidled off when William entered, rather 
ashamed of being caught chattering vehemently. It was remark- 
able the deference that was paid him, and from no assumption of 
his own — indeed, the absence of assumption may have partially 
accounted for it. But, though ever courteous and pleasant with them 
all, he was a thorough gentleman : and the working class are keen 
to distinguish this. 

"Why, Mrs. Tyrrett, this is sad news!" he said. " Is your hus- 
band so ill ? " 

" Oh, he must die, he must die, sir ! " she answered in a frantic 
tone. Uncomfortably as they had lived together, the man was still 
her husband, and there is no doubt she was feeling the present 
crisis; was shrinking with dread from the future. A widow with 
three young children, and the workhouse for an asylum ! It was 
the only prospect before her. "He must die, anyways; but he 



ONE DYING IN HONEY FAIR. 



33S 



might have lasted a few hours longer, if I could have got what the 
doctor ordered." 

William did not understand. 

" It was a blister and some physic, sir," explained one of the 
women. " The doctor wrote it on a paper, and said it was to be 
took to the nearest druggist's. But when they got it there, Darwin 
said he couldn't trust the Tyrretts, and they must send the money if 
they wanted the things.". 

" It was not Mr. Parry, then, who was called in ? " 

"It were a strange doctor, sir, as was fetched. There was 
Tyrrett's last bout of illness owing for to Parry, and so they didn't 
like to send for him. As to them druggists, they be some of 'em a 
cross-grained set, unless you goes with the money in your hand." 

William asked to see the prescription. It was produced, and he 
read its contents — he was as capable of doing so and of understand- 
ing it as the best doctor in Helstonleigh. He tore a leaf from his 
pocket-book, wrote a few words in pencil, folded it with the prescrip- 
tion, and desired one of the women to take it to the chemist's again. 
He then went up to the sick room. 

Tyrrett was lying on a flock mattress, on an ugly brown bed- 
stead, the four posts upright and undraped. A blanket and a 
checked blue cotton quilt covered him. His breathing was terribly 
laboured, his face painfully anxious. . William approached him, 
bending his head, to avoid contact with the ceiling. 

" I'm a-going, sir! " cried the man, in a tone as anxious as his 
face. " I'm a-going at last." 

" I hope not," said William. " I hope you will get better. You 
are to have a blister on your chest, and " 

" No he ain't, sir," interrupted one of the men. " Darwin won't 
send it." 

" Oh yes, he will, if he is properly asked. They have gone again 
to him. Are you in much pain, Tyrrett? " 

" I'm in an agony of pain here, sir," pointing to his chest. " But 
that ain't nothing to my pain of mind. Oh, Mr. Halliburton, you're 
good, sir ; you haven't nothing to reproach yourself with ; can't you 
do nothing for me? I'm going into the sight of my Maker, and 
He's angry with me ! " 

In truth, William knew not what to answer. Tyrrett's voice 
was as a wail of anguish ; his hands were stretched out beseech- 
ingly. 

" Charlotte East were here just now, and she told me to go to 
Christ — that He was merciful and forgiving. But how am I to 
go to Him? If I try, sir, I can't, for there's my past life rising up 
before me. I have been a bad man : I have never once in all my 
life tried to please God." 

The words echoed through the stillness of the room; echoed 
with a sound that was terribly awful. Never once to have tried to 
please God ! Throughout a whole life, and throughout all its 
blessings ! 



336 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" I have never thought of God," he continued to reiterate. " I 
have never cared for Him, or tried to please Him, or done the least 
thing for Him. And now I'm going to face His wrath, and I can't 
help myself ! " 

" You may be spared yet," said William ; "you may, indeed. And 
your future life must atone for the past." 

" I shan't be spared, sir; I feel that the world's all up with me," 
was the rejoinder. " I'm going fast, and there's nobody to give me 
a word of comfort! Can't you, sir? I'm going away, and God's 
angry with me ! " 

William leaned over him. " I can only say as Charlotte East 
did," he whispered. " Try and find your Saviour. There is mercy 
with Him at the eleventh hour." 

" I have not the time to find him," breathed forth Tyrrett, in 
agony. " I might find Him if I had time give me ; but I have not 
got it." 

William, shrinking in his youth and inexperience from arguing 
upon topics so momentous, was not equal to the emergency. Who 
was? He did what he could; and that was to despatch a message 
for a clergyman, who answered the summons with speed. 

The blister also came, and the medicine that had been prescribed. 
William went home, hoping all might prove as a healing balm to 
the sick man. 

A fallacious hope. Tyrrett died the following morning. When 
William went round early on his mission of inquiry, he found him 
dead. Some of the men, whom he had seen with Tyrrett the 
previous night, were assembled in the kitchen. 

" He is but just gone, sir," they said. " The women be up with 
him now. They have took his wife round screeching to her mother's. 
He died with that there blister on his chest." 

" Did he die peacefully ? " was William's question. 

" Awful hard, sir, toward the last ; moaning, and calling, and 
clenching his hands in mortal pain. His sister, she come round — 
she's a hard one, is that Liza Tyrrett — and she set on at the wife, 
saying it was her fault that he'd took to go out drinking. That 
there parson couldn't do nothing with him," concluded the speaker, 
lowering his voice. 

William's breath stood still. u No!" 

The man shook his head. " Tyrrett weren't in a frame o' mind 
for it, sir. He kep' crying out as he had led a bad life, and never 
thought of God — and them was his last words. It ain't happy, 
sir, to die like that. It have quite cowed down us as was with 
him : one gets thinking, sir, what sort of a place it may be, t'other 
side, where he's gone to." 

William lifted his head, a sort of eager hope on his countenance, 
speaking cheerily. " Could you not let poor Tyrrett's death act as 
a warning to you ? " 

There was a dead silence. Five men were present ; every one 
of them leading careless lives. Somehow they did not much like 



ONE DYING IN HONEY FAIR. 



337 



to hear of " warning," although the present moment was one of 
unusual seriousness. 

" Religion is so dreadful dull and gloomy, sir." 

" Religion dull and gloomy ! " echoed William. "Well, perhaps 
some people do make a gloomy affair of it ; but then I don't think 
theirs can be the right religion. I do not believe people were 
sent into the world to be gloomy : time enough for that when 
troubles come." 

" What is religion ? " asked one of the men. 

"It is a sort of thing that's a great deal better to be felt than 
talked of," answered William. " I am no parson, and cannot pre- 
tend to enlighten you. We might never come to an understanding 
over it, were we to discuss it all day long. I would rather talk to 
you of life, and its practical duties." 

" Tyrrett said as he had never paid heed to any of his duties. It 
were his cry over and over again, sir, in the night. He said he 
had drunk, and swore, and beat his wife, and done just what he 
oughtn't to ha' done." 

" Ay, I fear it was so," replied William. " Poor Tyrrett's exist- 
ence was divided into three phrases — working, drinking, quarrelling : 
dissatisfaction attending all. I fear a great many more in Honey 
Fair could say the same." 

The men's consciences were pricking them ; some of them began 
to stand uncomfortably on one leg. They tippled ; they quarrelled ; 
they had been known to administer personal correction to their 
wives on provocation. 

" Times upon times I asked Tyrrett to come round in an evening 
to Robert East's," continued William. " He never did come. But 
I can tell you this, my men ; had he taken to pass his evenings there 
twelve months ago, when the society — as they call it — was first 
formed, he might have been a hale man now, instead of lying there, 
dead." 

"Do you mean that he'd have growed religious, sir? " 

" I tell you we will put religion out of the discussion : as you 
don't seem to like the name. Had Tyrrett taken to like rational 
evenings, instead of public-houses, it would have made a wonder- 
ful difference in his mode of thought, and difference in conduct 
would have followed. Look at his father-in-law, Cross. He was 
living without hope or aim, at loggerheads with his wife and with 
the world, and rather given to wish himself dead. All that's over. 
Do you think I should like to go about with a dirty face and holes 
in my coat ? " 

The men laughed. They thought not. 

" Cross used to do so. But you see nothing of that now. Many 
others used to do so. Many do so still." 

Rather conscience-stricken again, the men tried to hide their 
elbows. " It's true enough," said one. " Cross, and some more of 
'em, are getting smart." 

" Smart inside as well as out," said William, (* They are acquir- 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 22 



333 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



ing self-respect ; one of the best qualities a man can find. They 
wouldn't be seen in the street now in rags, or the worse for drink, 
or in any other degrading position ; no, not if you bribed them with 
gold. Coming round to East's has done that for them. They are 
beginning to see that it's just as well to lead pleasant lives here, as 
unpleasant ones. In a short time, Cross will be getting furniture 
about him again, towards setting up the home he lost. He — and 
many more — will also, as I truly believe, be beginning to set up 
furniture of another sort." 
"What sort's that, sir?" 

" The furniture that will stand him in need for the next life ; the 
life that Tyrrett has now entered upon," replied William in a 
deeper tone. " It is a life that must come, you know ; our little 
span of time here, in comparison with eternity, is but as a drop 
of water to the great river that runs through the town; and it is 
as well to be prepared for it. Now, the next five I am going to get 
round to East's, are you." 

"Us, sir?" 

" Every one of you ; although I believe you have been in the 
habit of complimenting your friends, who go there, with the title 
of i milksops.' I want to take you there this evening. If you don't 
like it, you know you need not repeat the visit. You will come, to 
oblige me, won't you? " 

They said they would. And William went out satisfied, though 
he hardly knew how Robert East would manage to stow away the 
new comers. Not many steps from the door he encountered Mrs. 
Bufrle. She stopped him to talk of Tyrrett. 

" Better that he had spent his loose time at East's, than at the 
publics," remarked that lady. 

"It is the very thing we have been saying," answered William. 
" I wish we could get all Honey Fair there; though, indeed, there's 
no room for more than we have now. I cast a longing eye some- 
times to that building at the back, which they say was built for a 
Mormon stronghold, and has never been fitted up, owing to a dis- 
pute among themselves about the number of wives each elder might 
appropriate to his own share." 

" Disgraceful pollagists ! " struck in Mrs. Bufrle, apostrophizing 
the Mormon elders. " One husband is enough to have at one's 
fireside, goodness knows, without being worried with an unlimited 
number." 

" That is not the question," said William, laughing. " It is, how 
many wives are enough. However, I wish we could get the build- 
ing. East will have to hold the gathering in his garden soon." 

" There's no denying that it have worked good in Honey Fair," 
acknowledged Mrs. Bufrle. " It isn't alone the men that have grown 
more respectable, them as have took to go, but their wives too. 
You see, sir, in sitting at the public-houses, it wasn't only that they 
drank themselves quarrelsome, but they spent their money. Now 
their tempers are saved, and their money's saved. The wives see 



FRUITS COMING HOME TO THE DARES. 339 



the benefit of it, and of course try to be better-behaved theirselves. 
Not but what there's plenty of room for improvement still," added 
Mrs. Buffle, in a tone of patronage. 

" It will come in time," said William. " What we must do now, 
is to look out for a larger room." 

" One with a chimbley in it, as '11 draw? " suggested Mrs. Buffle. 

" Oh yes. What would they do without fire on a winter's night ? 
The great point is, to have things thoroughly comfortable." 

" If it hadn't been for the chimbley, I might have offered our big 
garret, sir. But it's the crankiest thing ever built, is that chimbley ; 
the minute a handful of fire's lighted, the smoke puffs it out again. 
And then again — there'd be the passing through the shop, obstruct- 
ing the custom." 

" Of course there would," assented William. " We must try for 
that failure in the rear, after all." 



CHAPTER VII. 

FRUITS COMING HOME TO THE DARES. 

The Pyramids of Egypt grew, in the course of time, into pyramids, 
as was oracularly remarked by Sergeant Delves; but that official's 
exertions, labour as hard as he would, grew into nothing — when 
applied to the cause with which he had compared the pyramids. 
All inquiry, all searching brought to bear upon it by him and his 
co-adherents, did not bring to light aught of Herbert's Dare's move- 
ments on that fatal night. Where he had passed the hours remained 
an impenetrable mystery ; and the sergeant had to confess himself 
foiled. He came, not unnaturally, to the conclusion that Herbert 
Dare was not anywhere, so far as the outer world was concerned : 
that he had been at home, committing the mischief. A conclusion 
which the sergeant had drawn from the very first, and it had never 
been shaken. Nevertheless, it was his duty to put all the skill and 
craft of the local police force into action ; and very close inquiries 
were made. Every house of entertainment in the city, of whatever 
nature — whether it might be a billiard-room, or an oyster-shop ; 
whether it might be a chief hotel, or an obscure public-house — was 
visited and keenly questioned ; but no one would acknowledge to 
having seen Herbert Dare on the particular evening. In short, no 
trace of him could be unearthed. 

" Just as much out as I was," said the sergeant to himself. And 
Helstonleigh held the same conviction. 

Pomeranian Knoll was desolate : with a desolation it had never 
expected to fall upon it. A shattering blow had been struck to Mr. 
and Mrs. Dare. To lose their eldest son in so terrible a manner, 
seemed, of itself, sufficient agony for a whole lifetime. Whatever 
may have been his faults — and Helstonleigh knew that he was 



34o MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



somewhat rich in faults — he was dear to them ; dearer than her 
other children to Mrs. Dare. Herbert had remarked, in conversing 
with Anna Lynn, that Anthony was his mother's favourite. It was 
so. She had loved him deeply, had been blind to his failings. 
Neither Mr. Dare nor his wife was amongst the religious of the 
world. Religious thoughts and reflections, they, in common with 
many others in Helstonleigh, were content to leave to a remote 
deathbed. But they had been less than human, worse than heathen, 
could they be insensible to the fate of Anthony — hurled away with 
his sins upon his head. He was cut off suddenly from this world, 
and — what of the next? It was a question, an uncertainty, that 
they dared not follow : and they sat, one on each side their desolate 
hearth, and wailed forth their vain anguish. 

This would, in truth, have been tribulation enough to have over- 
shadowed a life; but there was more beyond it. Hemmed in by 
pride, as the Dares had been, playing at being great and grand 
in Helstonleigh, the situation of Herbert, setting aside their fears 
or their sympathy for himself, was about the most complete check- 
mate that could have fallen upon them. It was the cup of humilia- 
tion drained to its dregs. Whether he should be proved guilty or 
not, he was thrown into prison as a common felon, awaiting his 
trial for murder ; and that disgrace could not be wiped out. Did 
they believe him guilty ? They did not know themselves. To 
suspect him of such a crime was painful in the last degree to their 
feelings ; but — why did he persist in refusing to state where he was 
on the eventful night ? There was the point that staggered them. 

A deep gloom overhung the house, extending to all its inmates. 
Even the servants went about with sad faces and quiet steps. The 
young ladies knew that a calamity had been dealt to them from 
which they should never wholly recover. Their star of brilliancy, 
in its little sphere of light at Helstonleigh, had faded into dimness, 
if not wholly gone down below the horizon. Should Herbert be 
found guilty, it could never rise again. Adelaide rarely spoke; 
she appeared to possess some inward source of vexation or grief, 
apart from the general tribulation. At least, so judged the Signora 
Varsini ; and she was a shrewd observer. She, Miss Dare, spent 
most of her time shut up in her own room. Rosa and Minny were 
chiefly with their governess. They were getting of an age to feel 
it in an equal degree with the rest. Rosa was eighteen, and had 
begun to go out with Mrs. Dare and Adelaide : Minny was antici- 
pating the same privilege. It was all stopped now — visiting, gaiety, 
pleasure ; and it was felt as a part of the misfortune. 

The first shock of the occurrence subsided, the funeral over, and 
the family settled down in its mourning, the governess exacted their 
studies from her two pupils as before. They were loth to recom- 
mence them, and appealed to their mother. "It was cruel of 
mademoiselle to wish it of them," they said. Mademoiselle rejoined 
that her motive was anything but cruel : she felt sure that occupa- 
tion for the mincl was the best counteraction to grief. If they would 



FRUITS COMING HOME TO THE DARES. 341 



not study, where was the use of her remaining, she demanded. 
Madame Dare had better allow her to leave. She would go with- 
out notice, if madame pleased. She should be glad to get back to 
the Continent. They did not have murders there in society : at 
least, she, mademoiselle, had never encountered personal experience 
of it. 

Mrs. Dare did not appear willing to accede to the proposition. 
The governess was a most efficient instructress ; and six or twelve 
months more of her services would be essential to her pupils, if they 
were to be turned out as pupils ought to be. Besides, Sergeant 
Delves had intimated that the signora's testimony would be neces- 
sary at the trial, and therefore she could not be allowed to depart. 
Mr. Dare thought if they did allow her to depart, they might be 
accused of wishing to suppress evidence, and it might tell against 
Herbert. So mademoiselle had to resign herself to remaining. 
" Tres bien," she equably said ; " she was willing ; only the young 
ladies must resume their lessons." A mandate in which Mrs. Dare 
acquiesced. 

Sometimes Minny, who was given to be incorrigibly idle, would 
burst into tears over the trouble of her work, and then lay it upon 
her distress touching the uncertain fate of Herbert. One day, 
upon doing this, the governess broke out sharply. 

" He deserves to lie in prison, does Monsieur Herbert ! " 

"Why do you say that, mademoiselle?" asked Minny resentfully. 

"Because he is a fool," politely returned mademoiselle. "He 
say, does he not, that he was not home at the time. It is well : but 
why does he not say where he was ? I think he is a fool, me." 

" You may as well say outright, mademoiselle, that you think 
him guilty ! " retorted Minny. 

" But I not think him guilty," dissented mademoiselle. . " I have 
said from the first that he was not guilty. I think he is not one 
capable of doing such an injury, to his brother or to any one else. 
I used to be great friends with Monsieur Herbert once, when I gave 
him those Italian lessons, and I never saw to make me believe his 
disposition was a cruel." 

In point of fact, the governess, more explicitly than any one else 
in the house, had unceasingly declared her belief in Herbert's inno- 
cence. Truly and sincerely she did not believe him capable of so 
grievous a crime. He was not of a cruel or revengeful disposition : 
certainly not one to lie in wait, and attack another savagely and 
secretly. She had never believed that he was, and would not 
believe it now. Neither had his family. Sergeant Delves's opinion 
was, that whoever had attacked Anthony had lain in wait for him 
in the dining-room, and had sprung upon him as he entered. It is 
possible, however, that the same point staggered mademoiselle 
that staggered the rest — Herbert Dare's refusal to state where he 
was at the time. Believing, as she did, that he could account for 
it if he chose, she deemed herself perfectly justified in applying to 
him the complimentary epithet you have just heard. She expressed 



342 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



true sympathy and regret at the untimely fate of Anthony, lament- 
ing him much and genuinely. 

Upon Cyril and George the punishment also fell. With one 
brother not cold in his grave, and the other thrown into jail to 
await his trial for murder, they could not, for shame, pursue their 
amusements as formerly; and amusements to Cyril and George 
Dare had become a necessity of daily life. Their friends and com- 
panions were growing shy of them — or else they fancied it. Con- 
science is all too suggestive. They fancied people shunned them 
when they walked along the street : Cyril, even, as he stood in 
Samuel Lynn's room at the manufactory, thought the men, as they 
passed in and out, looked askance at him. Very likely it was only 
imagination. George Dare had set his heart upon a commission ; 
one of the members for the city had made a half-promise to Mr. 
Dare, that he would " see what could be done at the Horse Guards." 
Failing available interest in that quarter, George was in hope that 
his father would screw out money to purchase one. But, until 
Herbert was proved innocent (if that time should ever arrive), the 
question of his entering the army must remain in abeyance. This 
state of things altogether did not give pleasure to Cyril and George 
Dare. But there was no remedy for it, and, they had to content 
themselves with sundry private explosions of temper, by way of 
relief to their minds. 

Yes, the evil fell upon all ; upon the parents, and upon the 
children. Of course the latter suffered nothing in comparison with 
Mr. and Mrs. Dare. Unhappy days, restless nights, were their 
portion now : the world seemed to be growing too miserable to 
live in. 

" There must be a fatality upon the boys ! " Mr. Dare exclaimed 
one day, in the bitterness of his spirit, as he paced the room with 
restless steps, his wife sitting moodily, her elbow on the centre 
table, her cheek pressed upon her hand. " Unless there had been 
a fatality upon them, they never could have turned out as they 
have." 

Mrs. Dare resented the speech. In her unhappy frame of mind, 
which told terribly upon her temper, it seemed a sort of relief to 
resent everything. If Mr. Dare spoke against their sons, she stood 
up for them. " Turned out ! " she repeated angrily. 

" Let us say, as things have turned out, then, if you will. They 
appear to be turning out pretty badly, as it seems to me. The boys 
have had every indulgence in life : they have enjoyed a luxurious 
home ; they have ruined me to supply their extravagances " 

" Ruined you ! " again resented Mrs. Dare. 

"Ay; ruined. It has all but come to it. And yet, what good 
has the indulgence or have the advantages brought them ? Far 
better — I begin to see it now — that they had been reared to self- 
denial : made to work for their daily bread." 

"How can you give utterance to such things!" rejoined Mrs. 
Dare in a chafed tone. 



FRUITS COMING HOME TO THE DARES. 343 



Mr. Dare stopped in his restless pacing, and confronted his wife. 
"Are we happy in our sons? Speak the truth." 

" How could any one be happy, overwhelmed with a misfortune 
such as this ? " 

"Put that aside: what are they without it? Rebellious to us; 
badly conducted in the sight of the world." 

"Who says they are badly conducted?" asked Mrs. Dare, an 
undercurrent of consciousness whispering that she need not have 
made the objection. " They may be a little wild ; but it is a com- 
mon failing with those of their age and condition. Their faults are 
only faults of youth and of uncurbed spirits." 

" I wish, then, their spirits had been curbed," was Mr. Dare's 
reply. " It is useless now to reproach each other," he continued, 
resuming his walk ; " but there must have been something radically 
wrong in their bringing-up. Anthony, gone : Herbert, perhaps, to 
follow him by almost a worse death, certainly a more disgraceful 

one : Cyril " Mr. Dare stopped abruptly in his catalogue, and 

went on more generally. " There is no comfort in them for us : 
there never will be any." 

6 What can you bring against Cyril?" sharply asked Mrs. Dare. 
It may be, that these complaints of her husband fretted her temper ; 
chafed, perhaps, her conscience. Certain it was, they rendered her 
irritable ; and Mr. Dare had latterly indulged in them frequently. 
"If Cyril is a little wild, it is a gentlemanly failing. There's nothing 
else to urge against him." 

"Is theft gentlemanly?" 

"Theft!" repeated Mrs. Dare. 

" Theft. I have concealed many things from you, Julia, wish- 
ing to spare your feelings. But it may be as well now that you 
should know a little more of what your sons really are. Cyril 
might have stood where Herbert will stand — at the criminal bar ; 
though for a crime of less degree. For all I can tell, he may stand 
at it still." 

Mrs. Dare looked scared. "What has he done?" she asked, her 
tone growing timid. 

" I say that I have kept these things from you. I wish I could 
have kept them from you always ; but it seems to me that exposure 
is arising in many ways, and it is better that you should be prepared 
for it, if it must come. I awake now in the morning to apprehen- 
sion ; I am alarmed throughout the day at my own shadow, dread- 
ing what unknown fate may not be falling upon them. Herbert in 
peril of the hangman : Cyril in peril of a forced voyage to the penal 
settlements." 

A sensation ot utter fear stole over Mrs. Dare. For the 
moment, she could not speak. But she rallied her powers to 
defend Cyril. 

" I think Cyril is hardly used, what with one thing and another. 
He was to have gone on that French journey, and at the last 
moment himself was pushed out of it for Halliburton. I felt more 



344 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



vexed at it, almost, than Cyril himself, and I spoke a word of my 
mind to Mrs. Ashley." 
" You did?" 

" Yes. I did not speak of it in the light of disappointment to 
Cyril ; the actual fact of not taking the journey ; so much as of the 
vexation he experienced at being supplanted by one whom he — 
whom we all — consider inferior to himself, William Halliburton. I 
let Mrs. Ashley know that we regarded it as a most unmerited and 
uncalled-for slight ; and I took care to drop a hint that we believed 
Halliburton to have been guilty in that cheque affair." 

Mr. Dare paused. "What did Mrs. Ashley say?" he presently 
asked. 

"She said very little. I never saw her so frigid. She intimated 
that Mr. Ashley was a competent judge of his own business " 

" I mean as to the cheque?" interrupted Mr. Dare. 

" She was more frigid over that than over the other. She pre- 
ferred not to discuss it, she answered ; who might have stolen it ; 
or who not." 

" I can set you right on both points," said Mr. Dare. " Cyril 
came to me, complaining of being superseded in this French 
journey, and I complied with his request that I should go and 
remonstrate with Mr. Ashley — being a simpleton for my pains. Mr. 
Ashley informed me that he never had entertained the slightest 
intention of despatching Cyril, and why Cyril should have taken up 
the notion, he could not tell. Mr. Ashley went on to say that he 
did not consider Cyril sufficiently steady to be intrusted abroad 
alone " 

" Steady!" echoed Mrs. Dare. "What has steadiness to do with 
executing business? And, as to being alone, Quaker Lynn went 
over also." 

" But at the outset, which was the time I spoke to him, Mr. 
Ashley's intention was to despatch only one — Halliburton. He 
said that Cyril's want of steadiness would always have been a bar 
to his thinking of him. Shall I go on and enlighten you on the 
other point — the cheque ? " Mr. Dare added, after a pause. 

"Y — es," she answered, a nervous dread causing her to speak 
with hesitation. Had she a foreshadowing of what was coming? 

" It was Cyril who took it," said Mr. Dare, dropping his voice to 
a whisper. 

" Cyril ! " she gasped. 

" Our son, Cyril. No other." 

Mrs. Dare took her hand from her cheek, and leaned back in the 
chair. She was very pale. 

" He was traced to White's shop, where he changed the cheque 
for gold. He had put on Herbert's cloak, the plaid lining outside. 
When he began to fear detection, he ripped the lining out, and left 
the cloak in the state it is; now in the possession of the police. 
Some of the jags and cuts have been sewn up, I suppose by one of 
the servants : I made no close inquiries. That cloak," he added, 



FRUITS COMING HOME TO THE DARES. 345 



with a passing shiver, " might tell queer tales of our sons, if it were 
able to speak." 

" How did you know it was Cyril?" breathed Mrs. Dare. 

" From Delves." 

" Delves ! Does he know it?" 

" He does. And the man is keeping the secret out of considera- 
tion for us. Delves is good-hearted at bottom. Not but that I 
spoke a friendly word for him when he was made sergeant. «It all 
tells." 

" And Mr. Ashley?" she asked. 

" There is no doubt that Ashley has some suspicion : the very 
fact of his not making a stir in it proves that he has. It would not 
please him that a relative — as Cyril is — should stand his trial for 
felony." 

" How harshly you put it!" exclaimed Mrs. Dare, bursting into 
tears. " Felony." 

" Nay; what else can I call it?" 

A pause ensued. Mr. Dare resumed his restless pacing. Mrs. 
Dare sat with her handkerchief to her face. Presently she looked up. 

"They said it was Halliburton's cloak that the person wore who 
went to change the cheque." 

" It was not Halliburton's. It was Herbert's turned inside out. 
Herbert knew nothing of it, for I questioned him. He had gone 
out that night, leaving his cloak hanging in his closet. I asked 
him how it happened that his cloak, on the inside, should resemble 
Halliburton's, and he said it was a coincidence. I don't believe 
him. I entertain little doubt that it was so contrived with a view to 
enacting some mischief. In fact, what with one revelation and 
another, I live, as I say, in constant dread of new troubles turn- 
ing up." 

Bitter, most bitter were these revelations to Mrs. Dare ; bitter 
had they been to her husband. Too swiftly were the fruits of their 
children's rearing coming home to them, bringing their recompense. 
" There must be a fatality upon the boys ! " he reiterated. Possibly. 
But had neither parents nor children done aught to invoke it ? 

" Since these evils have come upon our house — the fate of 
Anthony, the uncertainty overhanging Herbert, the certain guilt of 
Cyril," resumed Mr. Dare : " I have asked myself whether the 
money we inherited from old Mr. Cooper may not have wrought ill 
for us, instead of good." 

" Have wrought ill?" 

" Ay ! Brought with it a curse, instead of a blessing." 
She made no remark. 

"He warned us that, if we took Edgar Halliburton's share, it 
would not bring us good. Do you remember how eagerly he spoke 
it? We did take it," Mr. Dare added, dropping his voice to the 
lowest whisper. " And I believe it has just acted as a curse upon us." 

" You are fanciful ! " she cried, her hands shivering, as she raised 
her handkerchief to wipe her pale face. 



346 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



"No; there's no fancy in it. We should have done well to 
attend to the warning of the dying. Heaven is my witness that, at 
the time, such a thought, as that of appropriating it ourselves, never 
crossed my mind. We launched out into expense, and the other 
share became a necessity to us. It is that expense which has 
ruined our children." 

" How can you say it?" she rejoined, lifting her hands in a pas- 
sionate sort of manner. 

" It has been nothing else. Had they been reared more plainly, 
they would not have acquired those extravagant notions which have 
proved their bane. Without that inheritance, and the style of 
living we allowed it to entail upon us, the boys must have understood 
that they would have to earn money before they spent it, and they 
would have put their shoulders to the wheel. Julia," he continued, 
halting by her, and stretching forth his troubled face until it nearly 
touched hers, " it might have been well now, well with them and 
with us, had our children been obliged to battle with the poverty to 
which we condemned the Halliburtons." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

AN UGLY VISION. 

Mr. Dare had not taken upon himself the legal conduct of his son 
Herbert's case. It had been intrusted to the care of a solicitor in 
Helstonleigh, Mr. Winthorne. This gentleman, more forcibly 
than any one else, urged upon Herbert Dare the necessity of 
declaring — if he could declare — where he had been on the night of 
the murder. He clearly foresaw that, if his client persisted in his 
present silence, there was no chance of any result but the worst. 

He could obtain no response. Deaf to him, as he had been to 
others, Herbert Dare would disclose nothing. In vain Mr. Win- 
thorne pointed to consequences : first, by delicate hints ; next, by 
hints not delicate ; then, by speaking out broadly and fully. It is 
not pleasant to tell your client, in so many words, that he will be 
hanged and nothing can save him, unless he compels you to it. 
Herbert Dare so compelled Mr. Winthorne. All in vain. Mr. 
Winthorne found he might just as well talk to the walls of the 
cell. Herbert Dare declared, in the most positive manner, that he 
had been out the whole of the time stated ; from half-past eight 
o'clock, until nearly two; and from this declaration he never 
swerved. 

Mr. Winthorne was perplexed. The prisoner's assertions were 
so uniformly earnest, bearing so apparently the stamp of truth, that 
he could not disbelieve him; or rather, sometimes he believed 
and sometimes he doubted. It is true that Herbert's declarations 
did wear an air of entire truth ; but Mr. Winthorne had been en- 



AN UGLY VISION. 



347 



gaged for criminal offenders before, and knew what the assertions 
of a great many of them were worth. Down deep in his heart he 
reasoned very much after the manner of Sergeant Delves : " If he 
had been absent, he'd confess it to save his neck." He said so to 
Herbert. 

H erbert took the matter, on the whole, coolly ; he had done so 
from the beginning. He did not believe that his neck was really 
in jeopardy. "They'll never find me guilty," was his belief. He 
could not avoid standing his trial : that was a calamity from which 
there was no escape : but he steadily refused to look at its results 
in a sombre light. 

" Can you tell me where you were ? " Mr. Winthorne one 
morning impulsively asked him, when June was drawing to its 
close. 

" I jcould if I liked," replied Herbert Dare. " I suppose you mean 
by that, to throw discredit on what I say, Winthorne ; but you are 
wrong. I could point out to you and to all Helstonleigh where I 
was that night ; but I will not do so. I have my reasons, and I 
will not." 

" Then you will fall," said the lawyer. " The very fact of there 
being no other quarter than yourself on which to cast a shadow 
of suspicion, will tell against you. You have been bred to the law, 
and must see these things as plainly as I can put them to you." 

" There's the point that puzzles me — who it can have been that 
did the injury. I'd give half my remaining life to know." 

Mr. Winthorne thought that the whole of it, to judge by present 
appearances, might not be an inconveniently prolonged period; 
but he did not say so. " What is your objection to speak ? " he 
asked. 

" You have put the same question about fifty times, Winthorne, 
and you'll never get any different answer than the one you have 
had already — that I don't choose to state it. ,; 

" I suppose you were not committing murder in another quarter 
of the town, were you ? " 

" I suppose I was not," equably returned Herbert. 

" Then, failing that crime, there's no other in the decalogue that 
I'd not confess to, to save my life. Whether I was robbing a bank, 
or setting a church on fire, I'd tell it out, rather than be hanged by 
the neck until I was dead." 

" Ah, but I was not doing either," said Herbert. 

" Then there's the less reason for your persisting in the observance 
of so much mystery." 

" My doing so is my own business," returned Herbert. 

" No, it is not your own business," objected Mr. Winthorne. 
" You assert that you are innocent of the crime with which you are 
charged " 

" I assert nothing but the truth," interrupted Herbert. 

" Good. Then, if you are innocent, and if you can prove your 
innocence, it is your duty to your family to do it. A man's duties 



343 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



in this life are not owing to himself alone : above all, a son's. He 
owes allegiance to his father and mother ; his consideration for them 
should be above his consideration for himself. If you can prove 
your innocence it will be an unpardonable sin not to do it ; a sin 
inflicted on your family." 

" I can't help it," replied Herbert, in his obstinacy. " I have my 
reasons for not speaking, and I shall not speak." 

" You will surely suffer the penalty," said Mr. Winthorne. 

" Then I must suffer it," returned the prisoner. 

But it is one thing to talk, and another to do. Many a brave 
spirit, ready and willing to undergo hanging in theory, would find 
his heart fail and his bravery altogether die out, were he really 
required to reduce it to practice. 

Herbert Dare was only human. After July had come in, and the 
time for the opening of the assizes might be counted by hours, then 
his courage began to flinch. He spent a night in tossing from side 
to side on his pallet (a wide difference between that and his com- 
fortable bed at home), during which a certain ugly apparatus, to be 
erected for his especial use within the walls of the prison some fine 
Saturday morning, on which he might figure by no means gracefully, 
had mentally disturbed his rest. 

He arose unrefreshed. The vision of that possible future was not 
a pleasant one. Herbert remembered once, when he had been a 
college boy, that the Saturday morning's occasional drama had been 
enacted for the warning and edification of the town, and of the 
country people flocking into it for market. The college boys had 
determined, for once in their lives, to see the sight — if they could 
accomplish it. The ceremony was invariably performed at eight 
o'clock ; the exhibition closed at nine : and the boys' difficulty was, 
how to arrive at the scene in time, considering that it was only at 
the striking of the latter hour that they were let loose down the 
steps of the school. They had tried the time between the cloisters 
and the county prison ; and found that by dint of taking the shorter 
way through the back streets, tearing along at the fleetest pace, and 
knocking over every obstruction — human, animal, or solid — that 
might unfortunately be in their path, they could do the distance in 
four minutes. Arriving rather out of wind, it's true : but that was 
nothing. 

Four minutes ! they did not see their way. If the curtain de- 
scended at nine, sharp, as good be forty minutes after the hour, as 
four, in point of practical effect. But the Helstonleigh college boys 
— as you may sometime have heard remarked before — were not 
wont to allow difficulties to overmaster them. If there was a 
possible way of overcoming obstacles, they were sure to find it. 
Consultations had been anxious. To request the head-master to 
allow them as a favour to depart five or ten minutes before the 
usual time, would be worse than useless. It was a question whether 
he ever would have accorded it; but there was no chance of it on 
that morning. Neither could the whole school be taken summarily 



AN UGLY VISION. 



349 



with stomach-ache, or croup, or any other excruciating malady, 
necessitating compassion and an early dismissal. 

They came to the resolve of applying to the official who had the 
cathedral clock under his charge ; or, as they phrased it, " coming 
over the clock-man." By dint of coaxing, or bribery, or some other 
element of persuasion they got this functionary to promise to put 
the clock on eight minutes on that particular morning. And it was 
done. And at eight minutes before nine by the sun, the cathedral 
clock rang out its nine strokes. But, instead of the master lifting 
his finger — the signal for the boys to tear forth — the master sat 
quiet at his desk, and never gave it. He sat until the eight minutes 
had gone by, when the other churches in the town gave out their 
hour ; he sat four minutes after that : and then he nodded them 
their dismissal. 

The twelve minutes had seemed to the boys like twelve hours. 
Where the hitch was, they never knew; they never have known to 
this day ; as they would tell you themselves. Whether the master 
received an inkling of what was in the wind ; or whether, by one of 
those extraordinary coincidences that sometimes occur in life, he, 
for that one morning, allowed the hour to slip by unheeded — had 
not heard it strike — they could not tell. He gave out no explana- 
tion, then, or afterwards. The clock-man protested that he had 
been true ; had not breathed a hint to any one living of the purposed 
advancement ; and the boys had no reason to disbelieve him. 

However it might have been, they could not alter it. It was four 
minutes past nine when they clattered pile-mile down the school- 
room steps. Away they tore, full of fallacious hope, out at the 
cloisters, through the cathedral precincts, along the nearest streets, 
and arrived within the given four minutes, rather than over it. 

Alas, for human expectations ! The prison was there, it is true, 
formidable as usual ; but all trace of the morning's jubilee had 
passed away. Not only had the chief actor been removed, but also 
that ugly apparatus which Herbert Dare had dreamt of. That 
might have afforded them some gratification to contemplate, failing 
the greater sight. The college boys, dumb in the first moment of 
their disappointment, gave vent to it at length in three dismal 
groans, the echoes of which might have been heard as far off as the 
cathedral. Groans not intended for the unhappy mortal, then be- 
yond hearing of that, or any other earthly sound ; not for the officials 
of the county prison, all too quick-handed that morning ; but given 
as a compliment to the respected gentleman at that time holding the 
situation of head-master. 

Herbert Dare remembered this;* it was rising up in his mind with 
strange distinctness. He himself had been one of the deputation 
chosen to " come over " the clock-man ; had been the chief persuader 
of that functionary. Would the college boys hasten down if he were 

to In spite of his bravery, he broke off the speculation with a 

shudder ; and, calling the turnkey to him, he despatched a message 
for Mr, Winthorne. Was it the remembrance of his old school* 



350 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



fellows, of what they would think of him, that brought about what 
no other consideration had been able to effect ? 

As much indulgence as it was possible to allow a prisoner was 
accorded to Herbert Dare. Indeed, it may be questioned whether 
any previous prisoner, incarcerated within the walls of the county 
prison, had ever enjoyed so much. The governor of the prison 
and Mr. Dare had lived on intimate terms. Mr. Dare and his two 
elder sons had been familiar, in their legal capacity, with both its 
civil and criminal prisoners ; and the turnkeys had often bowed 
Herbert in and out of cells, as they now bowed out Mr. Winthorne. 
Altogether, what with the governor's friendly feeling, and the 
turnkeys' reverential one, Herbert Dare obtained more privileges 
than the ordinary run of prisoners. The message was at once 
taken to Mr. Winthorne, and it brought that gentleman back again. 

" I have made up my mind to tell," was Herbert's brief salutation 
when he entered. 

" A very sensible resolution," replied the lawyer. Doubts, how- 
ever, crossed his mind as he spoke, whether the prisoner was not 
about to set up some plea which had never had place in fact. In 
like manner to Sergeant Delves, Mr. Winthorne had arrived at the 
firm belief that there was nothing to tell. " Well ? " said he. 

" That is, conditionally," resumed Herbert Dare. " It would be 
of little use my saying I was at such and such a place, unless I 
could bring forward confirmatory evidence." 

" Of course it would not." 

"Well; there are witnesses who could give this satisfactory 
evidence : but the question is, will they be willing to do it ? " 

" What motive or excuse could they have for refusing? " returned 
Mr. Winthorne. " When a fellow-creature's life is at stake, surely 
there is no man so lost to humanity, as not to come forward and 
save it, if it be in his power." 

" Circumstances alter cases," was the curt reply of Herbert Dare. 

" Was it your doubt, as to whether they would come forward, that 
caused your hesitation at calling on them to do so ? " asked Mr. 
Winthorne, something not pleasant in his tone. 

" Not altogether. I foresaw a difficulty in it ; I foresee it still. 
Winthorne, you look at me with a face full of doubt. There is no 
cause for it — as you will find." 

" Well, go on," said the lawyer ; for Herbert had stopped. 

" The thing must be gone about in a very cautious manner ; and 
I don't quite see how it can be done," resumed Herbert slowly. 
" Winthorne, I think I had better make a confidant of you, and tell 
you the whole story from beginning to end." 

" If I am to do you any good, I must hear it, I expect. A man 
can't work in the dark." 

" Sit down then, and I'll begin. Though, mind — I tell it you 
in confidence. It's not for Helstonleigh. But you will see the 
expediency of being silent when you have heard it," 



( 351 ) 



CHAPTER IX. 

SERGEANT DELVES " LOOKS UP." 

The following Saturday was the day fixed for the opening of the 
commission at Helstonleigh. It soon came round, and the streets, 
in the afternoon, wore their usual holiday appearance. The high 
sheriff's procession went out to meet the judges, and groups stood 
about, waiting and watching for its return. Amongst other people 
blocking up the way, might be observed the portly person of 
Sergeant Delves. He strolled along, seeming to look at nothing, 
but his keen eye was everywhere. It suddenly fell upon Mr. Win- 
thorne, who was picking his way through the crowd as fast as he 
could do so, apparently in a hurry. Hurry or not, Sergeant Delves 
stopped him, and drew him to a safe spot beyond the reach of 
curious ears. 

" I was looking for you, Mr. Winthorne," said Delves in a con- 
fidential tone. " I say — this tale, that Dare will succeed in estab- 
lishing an alibis is it reliable ? " 

" Why — who the mischief can have been setting that afloat ? " 
returned the lawyer, in a tone of the utmost astonishment, not 
unmixed with vexation. 

" Dare himself was my informant," replied the sergeant. " I was 
in the prison just now, and saw him in the yard with the turnkey. 
He called me aside, and told me he was as good as acquitted." 

" Then he is an idiot for his pains. He had no right to talk of it, 
even to you." 

" / am dark," carelessly returned Delves. " I don't wish ill to the 
Dares, and I'd not work it to them ; as perhaps some of them could 
tell you," he added significantly. " What about this acquittal that 
he talks of?" 

" There's no doubt he will be acquitted. He will prove an alibi" 
" Is it a got-up alibi ' ?" asked the plain-speaking sergeant. 
" No. And as far as I go, I would not lend myself to getting up 
anything false," observed the solicitor. " He has said from the first, 
you know, that he was not near the house at the time, and so it will 
turn out." 

" Has he confessed where he was, after all his standing out ? " 

" Yes ; to me : it will be disclosed at the trial." 

"He was after no good, I know," nodded the sergeant oracularly. 

Mr. Winthorne raised his eyebrows, and slightly jerked his 
shoulders. The movement may have meant anything or nothing. 
He did not reply in words. 

Sergeant Delves fell into a reverie. He roused himself from it 
to take a searching gaze at the lawyer. " Sir," said he, and he could 



MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



hardly have spoken more earnestly had his life depended on it, " tell 
me the truth out-and-out. Do you, yourself, from the depths of your 
own judgment, believe Herbert Dare to have been innocent ?" 

" Delves, as truly as that you and I now stand here, I honestly 
believe that he had no more to do with his brother's death than we 
had." 

" Then I'm blest if I don't take up the other scent ! " exclaimed 
Mr. Delves, slapping his thigh. " I did think of it once, but I 
dropped it again, so sure was I that it was Master Herbert." 

" What scent is that ? " 

" Look here," said the sergeant — " but now it's my turn to warn 
you to be dark. There was a young woman met Anthony Dare the 
night of the murder, when he was going down to the Star-and- 
Garter. It's a young woman he did not behave genteel to, some 
time back, as the ghost says in the song. She met him that night, 
and she gave him a bit of her tongue ; not much, for he wouldn't 
stop to listen. But now, Mr. Winthorne, it has crossed my mind 
many times, whether she might not have watched for his going 
home again, and followed him ; followed him right into the dining- 
room, and done the mischief. I'll lay a guinea it was her ! " added 
the sergeant, arriving at a hasty conclusion. " I shall look up 
again now." 

" Do you mean that young woman in Honey Fair? " asked Mr. 
Winthorne. 

" Just so. Her, and nobody else. The doubt has crossed me; 
but, as I say, I was so certain it was the brother, that I did not 
follow it up." 

" Could a woman's feeble hand inflict such injuries ? " debated the 
solicitor. 

" ' Feeble ' be hanged ! " politely rejoined the sergeant. " Some 
women have the fists of men ; and the strength of 'em, too. You 
don't know 'em as we do. A desperate woman will do anything. 
And Anthony Dare, remember, had not his strength in him that 
night." 

Mr. Winthorne shook his head. " That girl has no look of 
ferocity about her. I should question it being her. Let's see — 
what is her name ? " 

" Listen ! " returned the sergeant. " When you have had half as 
much to do with people as I have, you'll have learnt not to go by 
looks. Her name's Caroline Mason." 

At that moment the cathedral bells rang out, announcing the 
return of the procession, the advent of the judges. As if the sound 
reminded the lawyer of the speed of time, he hastily went on his 
way ; leaving the sergeant to use his eyes and ears at the expense 
of the crowd. 

"I wonder how the prisoners in the jail feels?" remarked a 
woman, whom the sergeant recognized as being no other than Mrs. 
Cross. She had just come out of a warehouse with her supply of 
work for the ensuing week. 



SERGEANT DELVES "LOOKS UP. ! 



353 



" Ah, poor creatures ! " responded another of the group, and that 
was Mrs. Brunim. " I wonder how young Dare likes it ! " 

" Or how old Dare likes it — if he can hear 'em all the way up at 
his office. They'll know their fate soon, them two." 

In close vicinity to this colloquy was a young woman, drawn against 
the wall, under shelter of a projecting doorway. Her once good- 
looking face was haggard, and her clothes were scanty. It was 
for this reason, perhaps, that she appeared to shun observation. 
Sergeant Delves, apparently without any other design than that of 
working his way leisurely through the throng, edged himself up 
to her. 

" Looking out for the show, Miss Mason ? " 

Caroline turned her spiritless eyes upon him. "I'm waiting 
till there's a way cleared for me to get through, without pushing 
against folks, and contaminating 'em. What's the show to me, or 
me to it ? " 

" At the last assizes, in March, when the judges came in, young 
Anthony Dare made one in the streets, looking on," resumed the 
sergeant, chatting affably. " I saw him and spoke to him. And 
now he is gone where there's no shows to see." 

She made no reply. 

" The women there," pointing his thumb at the group of talkers 
hard by, " are saying that Herbert Dare won't like the sound of the 
college bells. — Hey, me! Look at those young toads of college 
boys, just let out of school ! " broke off the sergeant, as a tribe of 
some twenty of the king's scholars came fighting and elbowing their 
way through the throng to the front. " They are just like so many 
wild colts ! Maybe the prisoner, Herbert Dare, is now casting his 
thoughts back to the time when he made one of the band, and was 
as free from care as they are. It's not so long ago." 

Caroline Mason asked a question somewhat abruptly. " Will he 
be found guilty, sir, do you think ? " 

The sergeant turned the tail of his keen eye upon her, and 
answered the question by asking another. "Do you ? " 

She shook her head. " I don't think he was guilty." 

" You don't ? " 

" No, I don't. Why should one brother kill another ? " 

" Very true," coughed the sergeant. " But somebody must have 
done it. If Herbert Dare did not, who did ? " 

"Ah! who did? I'd like to know," she passionately added. 
"He had folks in this town that owed him grudges, had Mr. 
Anthony Dare." 

" If my vision didn't deceive me, I saw you talking to him that 
very same night," carelessly observed the sergeant. 

"Did you see me?" she rejoined, apparently as much at ease as 
the sergeant himself. " I had to do an errand at that end of the 
town, and I met him, and told him what he was. I hadn't spoke to 
him for months and months ; for years, I think. I had slipped into 
doors, down entries, anywhere to avoid him, if I saw him coming; 

Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. §3 



354 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



but a feeling came over me to speak to him then. I'm glad I did. 
I hope the truths I said to him went along with him to enliven him 
on his journey ! " 

" Did you see him after that, later in the evening? " resumed the 
inspector, putting the question sociably, and stretching his neck up 
to obtain a view of something at a distance. 

" No, I didn't," she replied. " But I would, if I had thought it 
was going to be his last. I'd have bade him remember all his good 
works where he was going to. I'd almost have went with him, I 
would, to have heard how he answered for them, up there." 

Caroline Mason glanced upwards to indicate the sky, when a 
loud flourish of trumpets from the advancing heralds sounded close 
upon them. As they rode up at a foot pace, they dropped their 
trumpets, and the mounted javelin-men quickly followed, their 
javelins in rest. A carriage or two ; a few more officials ; and then 
advanced the equipage of the high sheriff. Only one of the judges 
was in it, fully robed : a fine man, with a benign countenance. A 
grave smile was on it as he spoke to the sheriff, who sat opposite to 
him, his chaplain by his side. 

Sergeant Delves's attention was distracted for an instant, and 
when he looked round again, Caroline Mason had disappeared. He 
just caught sight of her in the distance, winding her way through 
the crowd, her head down. 

" Did she do it, or did she not ? " cried the sergeant, in soliloquy. 
" Go on, go on, my lady, for the present ; you are about to be a bit 
looked after." 

How did the prisoners feel, and Herbert Dare amongst them, as 
the joyous sounds, outside, fell upon their ears : the blast of the 
trumpets, the sweetness of the bells, the stir of life : penetrating 
within the walls of the city and county prisons ? Did they feel that 
the pomp and show, run after as a holiday sight, was only a cruel 
advent to them ? — that the formidable and fiery vision in the scarlet 
robe and flowing wig, who sat in the fine carriage, bending his 
serene face upon the mob, collected to stare and shout, might prove 
the pronouncer of their doom ? — a doom that should close the 
portals of this world upon them, and open those of eternity ! 



CHAPTER X. 

THE TRIAL. 

Tuesday morning was the day fixed for the trial of Herbert Dare. 
You might have walked upon the people's heads in the vicinity of 
the Guildhall, for all the town wished to get in to hear it. Of 
course only a very small portion of the town, relatively speaking, 
could have its wish, or succeed in fighting a way to a place. Of the 
rest, some went back to their homes, disappointed and exploding ; 



THE TRIAL. 



355 



and the rest collected outside, and blocked up the street. The 
police had their work cut out that day; while the javelin-men, 
heralding in the judges, experienced great difficulty in keeping clear 
the passages. The heat in court would be desperate as the day 
advanced. 

Sir William Leader, as senior judge, took his seat in the criminal 
court. It was he whom you saw in the sheriff's carriage on 
Saturday. The same benignant face was bent upon the crowded 
court that had been bent upon the street mob ; the same penetrating 
eye ; the same grave, calm bearing. The prisoner was immediately 
placed at the bar, and all eyes, strange or familiar, were strained to 
look at him. They saw a tall, handsome young man, looking too 
gentlemanly to stand in the felon's dock. He was habited in deep 
mourning. His countenance, usually somewhat conspicuous for its 
bright complexion, was pale, probably from the moment's emotion, 
and his white handkerchief was lifted to his mouth as he moved 
forward ; otherwise he was calm. Old Anthony Dare was in court, 
looking far more agitated than his son. Preliminaries were gone 
through, and the trial began. 

" Prisoner at the bar, how say you ? Are you guilty, or not 
guilty?" 

Herbert Dare raised his eyes fearlessly, and pleaded in a firm 
tone : 

" Not Guilty ! " 

The leading counsel for the prosecution, Serjeant Seeitall, stated 
the case. His address occupied some time, and he then proceeded 
to call witnesses. One of the first examined was Betsy Carter. 
She deposed to the facts of having sat up with the lady's-maid and 
Joseph, until the return of Mr. and Mrs. Dare and their daughter ; 
to having then gone into the dining-room with alight to look for Mr. 
Dare's pipe, which she had left there in the morning, when cleaning 
the room. " In moving forward with the candle, I saw something 
dark on the ground," continued Betsy, who, when her first timidity 
had gone off, seemed inclined to be communicative. " At the first 
glance, I thought it was one of the gentlemen gone to sleep there ; 
but when I stooped down with the light, I saw it was the face of the 
dead. Awful, it looked ! " 

" What did you next do ? " demanded the examining counsel. 

" Screeched out, gentlemen," responded Betsy. 

" What else ? " 

" I went out of the room, screeching to Joseph in the hall, and 
master came in from outside the front door, where he was waiting, 
all peaceful and ignorant, for his pipe, little thinking what there 
was so close to him. I screeched out all the more, gentlemen, 
when I remembered the quarrel that had took place at dinner that 
afternoon, and I knew it was nobody but Mr. Herbert that had 
done the murder." 

The witness was sharply told to confine herself to evidence. 

44 It couldn't be nobody else," retorted Betsy, who, once set going, 



356 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



was a match for any cross-examiner. " There was the cloak to 
prove it. Mr. Herbert had gone out in the cloak that very night, 
and the poor dead gentleman was lying on it. Which proves it 
must have come off in the scuffle between 'em." 

The fact of the quarrel, the facts connected with the cloak, as 
well as all other facts, had been mentioned by the learned Serjeant 
Seeitall in his opening address. The witness was questioned as to 
what she knew of the quarrel : but it appeared that she had not 
been present; consequently could not testify to it. The cloak 
she could say more about, and spoke of it confidently as Mr. 
Herbert's. 

" How did you know the cloak, found under the dead man, was 
Mr. Herbert's?" interposed the prisoner's counsel, Mr. Chattaway. 
" Because I did," returned the witness. 
u I ask you how you knew it ? " 

" By lots of tokens," she answered. " By the shining black clasp, 
for one thing, and by the tears and jags in it, for another. Nobody 
has ever pretended it was not the cloak, have the^ ? I have seen 
it fifty times hanging up in Mr. Herbert's closet." 

" You saw the prisoner going out in it that evening ? " 

" Yes, I did," she answered. " I was looking out at Miss 
Adelaide's chamber window, and I saw him come out of the dining- 
room window and go off towards the front gates. The gentlemen 
often went out through the dining-room window, instead of at the 
hall door." 

" The prisoner says he came back immediately, and left his cloak 
in the dining-room, going out finally without it. Did you see him 
come back ? " 

" No, I didn't," replied Betsy. 

" How long did you remain at the window ? " 

" Not long." 

" Did you remain long enough for him to cross the lawn to the 
front entrance gates, and come back again ? " 
" No, I don't think I did, sir." 

" The court will please take note of that answer," said Mr. Chat- 
taway, who was aware that a great deal had been made of the fact 
of the housemaid's having seen him go out in the cloak. " You left 
the window then, immediately ? " 

" Pretty near immediately. I don't think I stayed long enough 
at it for him to come back from the front gates — if he did come. I 
have never said I did, have I ? " she resentfully continued. 

" What time was it that you saw him go out ? " 

" I hadn't took particular notice of the time. It was dusk. I was 
turning down my beds ; and I generally do that a little before nine. 
The next room I went into was Mr. Anthony's." 

" The deceased was in it, was he not ? " 

" He was in it, stretched full length upon the sofa, little thinking, 
poor fellow, that he'd soon be stretched down below, with a stab 
in him. He had his head down on the cushion, and his feet up 



THE TRIAL. 



357 



over the arm at the foot, all comfortable and easy, with a cigar 
in his mouth, and some glasses and things on the table near him. 
' What are you come bothering in here for?' he asked. So I begged 
his pardon ; for you see, gentlemen, I didn't know that he was there, 
and I went out again, and met Joseph carrying up a note to him. 
A little while after that, he went out." 

The witness's propensity to degenerate into gossip appeared irre- 
pressible. Several times she was stopped ; once by the judge. 

" Of how many servants did the household of Mr. Dare consist?" 
she was asked. 

" There were four of us, gentlemen." 

" Did you all sit up that night ? " 

" All but the cook. She went to bed." 

" And the family, those who were at home, went to bed ? " 

" All of them, sir. The governess went early ; she was not well ; 
and Miss Rosa and Miss Minny went, and the two young gentlemen 
went when they came home from playing cricket." 

" In point of fact, then, no one was up except you three servants 
in the kitchen ? " 

" Nobody, sir." 

" And you heard no noise in the house until the return of Mr. and 
Mrs. Dare?" 

" We never heard nothing," responded Betsy. " We were sitting 
quietly in the kitchen ; me and the lady's-maid at work, and Joseph 
asleep. We never heard any noise at all." 

This was the substance of what was asked her. Joseph was next 
called, and gave his testimony. He deposed to having fastened up 
the house at eleven o'clock, with the exception of the dining-room 
window : that was left open in obedience to orders. All other facts 
within his knowledge, he also testified to. The governess, Signora 
Varsini, was called, and questioned upon two points : what she had 
seen and heard of the quarrel, and of the subsequent conduct of 
Anthony and Herbert to each other in the drawing-room. But her 
testimony amounted to nothing, and she might as well not have 
been troubled. She was also asked whether she had heard any 
noise in the house between eleven o'clock and the return of Mr. 
and Mrs. Dare v She replied that she did not hear any, for she had 
been asleep. She went to sleep long before eleven, and did not 
wake up until aroused by the commotion caused by the finding of 
the body. The witness was proceeding to favour the court with 
her own conviction that the prisoner was innocent, but was brought 
up with a summary notice, that that was not evidence, and that, if 
she knew nothing more, she might withdraw, Upon which, she 
honoured the bench with an elaborate curtsey, and retired. Not a 
witness throughout the day gave evidence with more absolute 
equanimity. 

Lord Hawkesley was examined; also Mr. Brittle — the latter 
coming to Helstonleigh on his subpoena. But to give the testimony 
of all the witnesses in length, would only be to repeat what has 



358 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



already been related. It will be sufficient to extract a few questions 
here and there. 

" What were the games played in your rooms that evening?" was 
asked of Mr. Brittle. 

" Some played whist ; some e'carte'." 
" At which did the deceased play ? " 
" At whist." 

" Was he a loser, or -a gainer ? " 

" A loser ; but to a very trifling amount. We were playing half- 
crown points. He and myself played against Lord Hawkesley and 
Captain Bellew. We broke up because he, the deceased, was not 
sufficiently sober to play." 

" Was he sober when he joined you ? " 

" By no means. He appeared to have been drinking rather 
freely ; and he took more at my rooms, which made him worse." 
" Why did you accompany him home ? " 

" He was scarcely in a state to proceed alone : and I felt no 
objection to a walk. It was a fine night." 

" Did he speak, during the evening, of the dispute which had 
taken place between him and his brother ? " interposed the judge. 

"He did not, my lord. A slight incident occurred, as we were 
going to his home, which it may be perhaps as well to men- 
tion " 

" You must mention everything which bears upon this unhappy 
case, sir," interrupted the judge. " You are sworn to tell the whole 
truth." 

" I do not suppose it does bear upon it directly, my lord. Had I 
attached importance to it, I should have spoken of it before. In 
passing the turning which leads to the race-course, a man met us, 
and began to abuse the deceased. The deceased was inclined to 
stop and return it, but I drew him on." 

" Of what nature was the abuse ? " asked the counsel. 

" I do not recollect the precise terms. It was to the effect that 
he, the deceased, tippled away his money, instead of paying his 
debts. The man backed against the wall as he spoke : he appeared 
to have had rather too much himself. I drew the deceased on, and 
we were soon out of hearing." 

" What became of the man ? " 

" I do not know. We left him standing against the wall. He 
called loudly after the deceased to know when his bill was to be 
paid. I judged him to be some petty tradesman." 

" Did he follow you?" 

" No. At least, we heard no more of him afterwards. I saw the 
deceased safely within his own gate, and left him." 

" What state, as to sobriety, was the deceased in then ? " 

"He was what may be called half-seas-over," replied the witness. 
" He could talk, but his words were not very distinct." 

" Could he walk alone ? " 

"After a fashion. He stumbled as he walked." 



THE TRIAL. 



359 



" What time was this ? " 

" About half-past eleven. I think the half-hour struck directly 
after I left him, but I am not quite sure." 

" As you returned, did you see anything of the man who had ac- 
costed the deceased ? " 

" Not anything." 

Strange to say, the very man, thus spoken of, was in court, 
listening to the trial. Upon hearing the evidence given by Mr. 
Brittle, he voluntarily came forward as a witness. He said he had 
been " having a drop," and it had made him abusive, but that 
Anthony Dare had owed him money long for work done, mending 
and making. He was a jobbing tailor, and the bill was a matter of 
fourteen pounds. Anthony Dare had only put him off and off ; he 
was a poor man, with a wife and family to keep, and he wanted the 
money badly ; but now, he supposed, he should never be paid. He 
lived close to the spot where he met the deceased and the gentle- 
man who had just given evidence, and he could prove that he went 
home as soon as they were out of sight, and was in bed by half-past 
eleven. What with debts and various other things, he concluded, 
the town had had enough to rue in young Anthony Dare. Still, the 
poor fellow didn't deserve such a shocking fate as murder, and he 
would have been the first to protect him from it. 

That the evidence was given in good faith, was undoubted. He 
was known to the town as a harmless, inoffensive man, addicted, 
though upon rare occasions, to take more than was good for him, 
when he was apt to dilate upon his grievances. 

The policeman, who had been on duty that night near Mr. Dare's 
residence, was the next witness called. " Did you see the deceased 
that night ? " was asked of him. 

" Yes, sir, I did," was the reply. " I saw him walking home with 
the gentleman who has given evidence — Mr. Brittle. I noticed that 
young Mr. Dare talked thick, as if he had been drinking." 

" Did they appear to be on good terms ? " 

" Very good terms, sir. Mr. Brittle was laughing when he opened 
the gate for the deceased, and told him to mind he did not kiss the 
grass ; or something to that effect." 

" Were you close to them ? " 

" Quite close, sir. I said ' Good night ' to the deceased, but he 
seemed not to notice it. I stood and watched him over the grass 
He reeled as he walked." 

" What time was this ? " 

" Nigh upon half-past eleven, sir." 

" Did you detect any signs of people moving within the house ? M 

" Not any, sir. The house seemed quite still, and the blinds were 
down before the windows." 

" Did you see any one enter the gate that night, besides the de- 
ceased ? " 

" Not any one." 

"Not the prisoner ? " 



360 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



" Not any one," repeated the policeman. 

" Did you see anything of the prisoner later, between half-past 
one and two, the time he alleges as that of his going home ? n 

" I never saw the prisoner at all that night, sir." 

" He could have gone in, as he states, without your seeing him ? " 
interposed the prisoner's counsel. 

" Yes, certainly, a dozen times over. My beat extended to half- 
a-mile beyond Mr. Dare's." 

One witness, who was placed in the box, created a profound 
sensation : for it was the unhappy father, Anthony Dare. Since 
the deed was committed, two months ago, Mr. Dare had been 
growing old. His brow was furrowed, his cheeks were wrinkled, his 
hair was turning white, and he looked, as he obeyed the call to the 
witness-box, as a man sinking under a heavyweight of care. Many 
of the countenances present expressed deep commiseration for him. 

He was sworn, and various questions were asked him. Amongst 
others, whether he knew anything of the quarrel which had taken 
place between his two sons. 

" Personally, nothing," was the reply. " I was not at home." 

" It has been testified that when they were parted, your son 
Herbert threatened his brother. Is he of a revengeful disposition ! " 

" No," replied Mr. Dare, with emotion ; " that, I can truly say, he 
is not. My poor son, Anthony, was somewhat given to sullenness ; 
but Herbert never was." 

" There had been a great deal of ill-feeling between them of late, 
I believe." 

" I fear there had been." 

" It is stated that you yourself, upon leaving home that evening, 
left them a warning not to quarrel. Was it so ? " 

" I believe I did. Anthony entered the house as we were leaving 
it, and I did say something to him to that effect." 

"Herbert, the prisoner, was not present?" 

" No. He had not returned." 

" It is proved that he came home later, dined, and went out again 
at dusk. It does not appear that he was seen afterwards by any 
member of your household, until you yourself went up to his room 
and found him there, after the discovery of the body. His own 
account is, that he had only recently returned. Do you know where 
he was, during his absence ? " 

" No." 

" Or where he went to ? " 

" No," repeated the witness in a sadly faltering tone, for he knew 
that this was the one weak point in the defence. 
" He will not tell you ?" 

" He declines to do so. But," the witness added, with emotion, 
" he has denied his guilt to me from the first, in the most decisive 
manner : and I solemnly believe him to be innocent. Why he will 
not state where he was, I cannot conceive; but not a shade of 
doubt rests upon my mind that he could state it, if he chose, and 



THE TRIAL 



that it would be the means of establishing the fact of his absence. 
I would not assert this, if I did not believe it," said the witness, 
raising his trembling hand. " They were both my boys : the one 
destroyed was my eldest, perhaps my dearest ; and I declare that 
I would not, knowingly, screen his assassin, although that assassin 
were his brother." 

The case for the prosecution concluded, and the defence was 
entered upon. The prisoner's counsel — two of them eminent men, 
Mr. Chattaway himself being no secondary light in the forensic 
world — laboured under one disadvantage, as it appeared to the 
crowded court. They exerted all their eloquence in seeking to 
divert the guilt from the prisoner : but they could not — distort facts 
as they might, call upon imagination as they would — they could 
not conjure up the ghost of any other channel to which to direct 
suspicion. There lay the weak point, as it had lain throughout. 
If Herbert Dare was not guilty, who was ? The family, quietly 
sleeping in their beds, were beyond the pale of suspicion ; the house- 
hold equally so ; and no trace of any midnight intruder to the house 
could be found. It was a grave stumbling-block for the prisoner's 
counsel ; but such stumbling-blocks are as nothing to an expert 
pleader. Bit by bit Mr. Chattaway disposed, or seemed to dispose, 
of every argument that could tell against the prisoner. The presence 
of the cloak in the dining-room, from which so much appearance of 
guilt had been deduced, he converted into a negative proof of 
innocence. " Had he been the one engaged in the struggle," argued 
the learned Q.C., "would he have been mad enough to leave his 
own cloak there, underneath his victim, a damning proof of guilt ? 
No ! that, at any rate, he would have taken away. The very fact 
of the cloak being under the murdered man was a most indisputable 
proof, as he regarded it, that the prisoner remained totally ignorant 
of what had happened — ignorant of his unfortunate brother's being 
at all in the dining-room. Why ! had he only surmised that his 
brother was lying, wounded or dead, in the room, would he not 
have hastened to remove his cloak out of it, before it should be 
seen there, knowing, as he must know, that, from the very terms on 
which he and his brother had been, it would be looked upon as a 
proof of his guilt ? " The argument told well with the jury — probably 
with the judge. 

Bit by bit, so did he thus dispose of the suspicious circumstances : 
of all, except one. And that was the great one, the one that nobody 
could get over : the refusal of the prisoner to state where he was 
that night. " All in good time, gentlemen of the jury," said Mr. 
Chattaway, some murmured words reaching his ear that the omission 
was deemed ominous. " I am coming to that later ; and I shall 
prove as complete and distinct an alibi as it was ever my lot to 
submit to an enlightened court." 

The court listened, the jury listened, the spectators listened, and 
" hoped he might." He had spoken, for the most part, to incredu- 
lous ears. 



362 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



CHAPTER XL 

THE WITNESSES FOR THE ALIBI. 

When the speech of the counsel ended, and the time came for the 
production of the witness or witnesses who were to prove the alibi, 
there appeared to be some delay. The intense heat of the court 
had been growing greater with every hour. The rays of the after- 
noon sun, now sinking lower and lower in the heavens, had only 
brought with them a more deadly feeling of suffocation. But, to go 
out for a breath of air, even had the thronged state of the passages 
permitted the movement, appeared to enter into no one's thoughts. 
Their suspense was too keen, their interest too absorbing. Who were 
those mysterious witnesses, that would testify to the innocence of 
Herbert Dare ? 

A stir at the extreme end of the court, where it joined the other 
passage. Every eye was strained to see, every ear to listen, as an 
usher came clearing the way. " By your leave there— by your leave ; 
room for a witness ! " 

The spectators looked, and stretched their necks, and looked 
again. A few among them experienced a strange thrill of disap- 
pointment, and felt that they should have much pleasure in being 
allowed the privilege of boxing the usher's ears, for he preceded 
no one more important than Richard Winthorne, the lawyer. Ah, 
but wait a bit ! What short and slight figure is it that Mr. Win- 
thorne is guiding along? The angry crowd have not caught sight 
of her yet. 

But, when they do — when the drooping, shrinking form is at 
length in the witness-box ; her eyes never raised, her lovely face 
bent in timid dread — then a murmur arises, and shakes the court 
to its foundation. The judge feels for his glasses — rarely used — ■ 
and puts them across his nose, and gazes at her. A fair girl, attired 
in the simple, modest garb, peculiar to the sect called Quakers, not 
more modest than the lovely and gentle face. She does not take 
the oath, only the affirmation peculiar to her people. 
I " What is your name ? " commenced the prisoner's counsel. 

That she spoke words in reply, was evident, by the moving of 
her lips : but they could not be heard. 

" You must speak up," interposed the judge, in a tone of kindness. 

A deep struggle for breath, an effort of which even those around 
could see the pain, and the answer came. " They call me Anna. 
I am the daughter of Samuel Lynn." 

" Where do you live ? " 

" I live with my father and Patience, in the London Road." 
" What do you know of the prisoner at the bar? " 



THE WITNESSES FOR THE ALIBI. 



363 



A pause. She probably did not understand the sort of answer 
required. One came that was unexpected. 

" I know him to be innocent of the crime of which he is accused." 
" How do you know this? " 

" Because he could not have been near the spot at the time." 
" Where was he then? " 
" With me." 

But the reply came forth in so faint a whisper that again she had 
to be enjoined to speak louder, and she repeated it, using different 
words. 

" He was at our house." 

" At what hour did he go to your house? " 

"It was past nine when he came up first." 

" And what time did he leave? " 

" It was about one in the morning." 

The answer appeared to create some stir. A late hour for a sober 
little Quakeress to confess to. 

" Was he spending the evening with your friends? " 
"No." 

" Did they not know he was there ? " 
" No." 

"It was a clandestine visit to yourself, then? Where were 
they?" 

A pause, and a very trembling answer. " They were in bed." 

" Oh ! You were entertaining him by yourself, then? " 

She burst into tears. The judge let fall his glasses, as though 
under the pressure of some annoyance, every feature of his fine 
face expressive of compassion : it may be, his thoughts had flown 
to daughters of his own. The crowd stood with open mouths, 
gaping with undisguised astonishment, and the burly Queen's 
counsel proceeded. 

" And so he prolonged his visit until one o'clock in the morning? " 

" I was locked out," she sobbed. " That is how he came to stay 
so late." 

Bit by bit, with questioning and cross-questioning, it all came 
out : that Herbert Dare had been in the habit of paying stolen 
visits to the field, and that Anna had been in the habit of meeting 
him there. That she had gone in on this night just before ten, 
which was later than she had ever stayed out before ; but, finding 
Hester had to go out for medicine for Patience, she had run to the 
field again to take a book to the prisoner : and that upon attempt- 
ing to enter, soon afterwards, she found the door locked, Hester 
having met the doctor's boy, and come back at once. She told it 
all, as simply and guilelessly as a child. 

"What were you doing all that time? From ten o'clock until 
one in the morning ? " 

" I was sitting on the door-step, crying." 

" Was the prisoner with you ? " 

" Yes. He stood by me part of the time, telling me not to be 



364 MRS. HALLIBURTON'S TROUBLES. 



afraid ; and the rest of the time — more than an hour, I think— he 
was working at the wires of the pantry window, to try to get in." 
" Was he all that time at the wires ? " 

" It was a long time before I remembered the pantry window. 
He wanted to knock up Hester, but I was afraid to let him. I 
feared she might tell Patience, and they would have been so angry 
with me. He got in, at last, at the pantry window, and he opened 
the kitchen window for me, and I went in by it." 

" And you mean to say he was all that time, till one o'clock in the 
morning, forcing the wires of a pantry window?" cried Serjeant 
Seeitall. 

" It was nearly one. I am telling thee the truth." 

" And you did not lose sight of the prisoner from the time he first 
came to the field, at nine o'clock, until he left you at one? " 

" Only for the few minutes — it may have been four or five — when 
I ran in and came out again with the book. He waited in the 
field." 

" What time was that?" 

" The ten o'clock bell was going in Helstonleigh. We could 
hear it." 

" He was with you all the rest of the time?" 

" Yes, all. When he was working at the pantry window I could 
not see him, because he was round the angle of the house, but I 
could hear him at the wires. Not a minute of the time but I 
heard him. He was more than an hour at the wires, as I have told 
thee." 

" And until he began at the wires? " 

"He was standing up by me, telling me not to be afraid." 
" All the time ? You affirm this ? " 

" I am affirming all that I say to thee. I am speaking as before 
my Maker." 

" Don't you think it is a pretty confession for a young lady to 
make?" 

She burst into fresh tears. The judge turned his grave face 
upon Serjeant Seeitall. But the Serjeant had impudence enough 
for ten. 

" Pray, how many times had that pretty little midnight drama 
been enacted?" he continued, while Anna sobbed in distress. 

" Never before," burst forth a deep voice. " Don't you see it was 
a pure accident, as she tells you? How dare you treat her as you 
might a shameless witness?" 

The interruption — one of powerful emotion — had come from the 
prisoner. At the sound of his voice, Anna started, and looked 
round hurriedly to the quarter whence it came. It was the first 
time she had raised her eyes to the court since entering the witness- 
box. She had glanced up to answer whoever questioned her, and 
that was all. 

"Well?" said Serjeant Seeitall, as if demanding what else she 
might have to communicate. 



THE WITNESSES FOR THE ALIBI. 



365 



" I have no more to tell. I have told thee all I know. It was 
nearly one o'clock when he went away, and I never saw him after." 

" Did the prisoner wear a cloak when he came to the field that 
night?" 

" No. He wore one sometimes, but he did not have it on that 
night. It was very warm " 

But, at that moment, Anna Lynn became conscious that a 
familiar face was strained upon her from the midst of the crowd : 
familiar, and yet not familiar ; for the face was distorted from its 
natural look, and was blanched, as of one in the last agony — the 
face of Samuel Lynn. With a sharp cry of pain — of dread — Anna 
fell on the floor in a fainting fit. What the shame of being before 
that public court, of answering the searching questions of the 
counsel, had failed to take away— her senses — the sight of her 
father, cognizant of her disgrace, had effected. Surely it was a 
disgrace for a young and guileless maiden to have to confess to 
such an escapade — an escapade that sounded worse to censuring 
ears than it had been in reality. Anna fainted. Mr. Winthorne 
stepped forward, and she was borne out. * 

Another Qu